Lee Love Photography

Advertising, Editorial Advertising Photography

Does your personal work have to match the branding of your commercial work in order to show it?

I am surprised so many photographers don’t recognize the importance personal work plays in our lives, as both artists and small business owners. Personal photography projects can be the heart and soul of our businesses, and certainly the fuel for our passion and creativity. There are often two camps when it comes to personal work. The first is the new photographer, who only has personal work to show potential clients; the second is longtime pros who are so busy with client work that personal projects get put off again and again. Obviously, in the first case, you need paying clients, or photography is just a hobby. But for that second group, personal projects remain extremely important to artistic growth.

More... To read the rest of my article visit Agency Access's The Lab

10 Tips to Help YOU with Contracts

Kate Jarvis is the producer for Chase Jarvis photography and is a wealth of knowledge and experience. Her post are always informative and she shares behind the scenes aspects of the business that many of us struggle with. Kate recently posted an excellent article on dealing with contracts that every photographer should read. Also, I hope Chase realizes how luck he is. :)

Way to go Kate !!

Read Kates blog post at Chase Jarvis 10 Tips to Help Photographers & Creatives [that's YOU] with Contracts


Make Good Art

I love it when I stumble across an inspiring article or video on the internet, it is one of the great things about being connected to the worlds largest library. Here is a commencement address by author Neil Gaiman, to the University of Arts, Philadelphia, that reminds all artist that the path is not easy and rarely clearly defined. But that the journey is one we must all take in order to share our talent and vision to create.

The video is 20 minutes long which is at the threshold of most our attention spans (especially in today's instant, 100 mbps, on-demand, got to have it now mentality) but I think you will find it worth your time. Especially if you are fellow artist trying to discover your path in life.

Impressive American Ingenuity - NASA Space Shuttle

There are some forms of man-made ingenuity that are so inspiring and overwhelming that are impossible to ignore, even for the most rational human being. I think its fare to say that for most kids growing up in the 1960's and 1970's the US space program had a huge impact in bring out the closet geek in most of us. As the space program evolved I suspect for those who are  younger the Space Shuttle program might have had a similar impact. But, even if you were not a geek at heart and were fortunate to witness a space shuttle launch in person it is an experience you will never forget. I count myself as one of the fortunate who was able to see a shuttle launch from on base at Cape Canaveral. The word impressive does not even come close to the feeling you get when watching such a miraculous show of ingenuity.  Anyone who has seen a launch will describe an unexpected sensation and that is the sound and power of the solid rocket boosters. Ask them and they will describe the feeling in their chest from the sound waves generated by this powerful demonstration of force.

As the shuttle program winds down NASA is providing three of these amazing machines to museums around the country. On Tuesday April 17th, NASA delivered the Discovery Shuttle to the Udvar Hazy Space Muesum just outside Washington, D.C., this was another historic flight for the shuttle and was THE best show in D.C. as shuttle arrived aboard the back of a specially equipped 231 foot Boeing 747. Cars pulled off the highways and people called in sick from work as thousands took up positions around the area to capture a view of the arriving shuttle.

NASA provided a great show for the nations capital as the 747 made two passes around the surrounding areas. Spectators were cheering and clapping as the 747 and it's payload went overhead and everyone wanted a photo or video of this historic moment.

Fine Art and Music Photography: The Morrison Hotel

The Morrison Hotel® gallery is about people. Founded in 2001 by former record company executive and producer Peter Blachley, former independent record store owner Richard Horowitz and music photographer Henry Diltz, The Morrison Hotel® Gallery, which represents world renowned photographers, has grown to become the place to purchase fine art music photography. Check out the Morrison Hotel Gallery web site.

A Life Documented in Polariods

What started as a personal project, quickly became an obsession for New York photographer Jamie Livingston (above), who managed to take a Polaroid picture every day for 18 years.

His last, 6,000 shots later, on October 25, 1997 - his birthday was of Livingston on his deathbed, dying from cancer.

Blog with details on John Livingston's life and photography.

John Livingstons entire gallery

CAPTCHA: What the &*%$# is Wrong with the Computer Industry ?

What kind of industry would create and use a technology that drives its customers away ? Is anyone else getting increasingly more annoyed at the use of web sites that insist on using these insane awful CAPTCHA forms ? And is it just me are these getting harder and harder to read ? Now this might be a leap for some non-Apple users but every time I use a site that has a totally unreadable CAPTCHA system I can't help but wonder how would Apple engineers design a CAPTCHA technology. Apple is known for their user friendly approach to the design of their products. Not only is the engineering usually unique but the products are amazingly functional. So when I try to use a site that has a CAPTCHA form that is so hard to use and read it makes me crazy.

No one likes spam and as someone who runs a blog I get my share that I have to remove. But come on is this the best we have to offer users as a way to block spam ? Are you telling me the best and brightest can't come up with a better solution than this ?

CAPTCHA's are purposely suppose to prevent bots, i.e. computers from recognizing the words displayed BUT we are at a point where they are now not able to be read by humans. In 2011 it's hard to believe this is the best we can do to prevent spam.

Here are a couple of my favorites that I copied of the system Craigslist.org uses to prevent spammers. I wonder how many of you can read these after working all day ?

















Interviewed by Photographer and Author Michael E. Stern

I recently had the pleasure to be interviewed by photographer and author Michael E. Stern. He is the host of a weekly live internet show called Building A Better Photograph. Michael is not only an award winning photographer but he is also an author and a teacher at Brooks Institute. Listen to Interview

Click on the image to learn more about Michael's new book.




Glen Wexler: Dropped on his Head as a Youth ?

There are so many fantastic photographers in our industry and because of the many different types of photography we are treated to a wide variety of work. Art is certainly subjective and an emotional trigger for me may not do the same for someone else. As artist we certainly bring a life time of experiences to our work and often the result is more of a reflection of ourselves than the world around us. Based on this premise it is my speculation that photographer Glen Wexler was dropped on his head as a youth. But regardless of the reason for Glen's warped sense of humor, the world of photography a is better place. Glen Wexler's humorist view of the world strikes a cord with me and my own sense of humor. I am not sure what that says about me but I will leave the 1970 psychobabble, self examination for another blog post.


In 2007 Glen introduced a series of photographs and a book entitled The Secret Lives of Cows. The series started as an ad campaign (ad agency The Richards Group) for Chick-Fil-A depicting cows as superheroes and secret agents attempting to defend their species from human consumption. To me Glen's work brings out one of the the best lessons about humans and that is to look in the mirror and laugh at ourselves. His view of the world is uplifting and comical and simply entertaining. And in my opinion we need more Glens in the world to remind us art should also include humor and frivolity. I have heard others say that the of art is it generate a reactions, to create an emotion. Laughter is as much an emotion as sorrow and yet it doesn't appear to be celebrated with the same weight in our art.

Now don't get me wrong, the world is also a very serious place and there are things that humans are doing to other human beings that need to be reflected in our photography. But, no one can live on a steady diet of the same visual food group over and over. Unfortunately we are fed a constant source of "If it bleeds it leads" and shock in the form of news coverage and even in our art. So often the work that gets the most attention and awards is the worse of human nature not the best we have to offer.

Maybe it's because I am just a dumb photographer not an art critic (what ever that is), but to me Glen Wexler is a genius. His humor and view of the world is inspiring and reminds me to approach my work with the same sense of fun and laughter. Photography is not brain surgery and while I take my work seriously, taking myself seriously is something I am not sure I will ever achieve.

So when you are dreaming up your next personal project to shoot how about trying to lift up the heart and spirit of your viewers with humor. Laughter is certainly part of our DNA and you never know how your ability to put a smile on someones face through your art will have an effect on your fellow cow human.

Is the Apple iPad Really a Useful Platform for Photographers ?

© Apple Inc. Depending on the technology circles you travel in there maybe controversy over the value of Apple's iPad. Some discount the device just because it's an Apple product, others because it doesn't have a boat load of features you would find on a typical laptop or netbook computer. Then there are those who have embraced this new platform  in a big way and praise the iPad as the salvation for the dying print media industry.

As with most things in life no one can answer this question for you but I can share a few of my own observations that might be helpful. First let me say that generally speaking technology is nether good or bad, helpful or harmful, useful or a waste of time. Technology is solely dependent on our moral values and how we apply its use to our daily lives. For example atomic energy can be used to make a destructive device or provide millions with the quality of life they have never experienced. A cell phone can save someones life or take a life if used incorrectly while driving. The point (if its not too obvious by now) is the iPad is not the answer to an entire industry nor is it just a big iPhone as some have suggested.

I purchased my iPad about 3 months after they were available and like many I debated long and hard about whether this was just another gadget or a real business tool. As a self employed commercial photographer I have to look at technology purchases beyond my normal reaction of "Wow that is cool" as a justification for a purchase. I already own a Macbook Pro so another portable device wasn't absolutely necessary, but there was something about the iPad that I was drawn to. Steve Jobs has referred to the device as magical and I am not sure what his definition of magical is but I will admit when you hold one for more than a few minutes it does draw you in and changes ones view of handheld computing.

My personal assessment after four months of use is the iPad is one of the best pieces of technology I have ever purchased. My number one purchase would have to be the Nikon D3's but the iPad is a close second and a remarkable device. I now use it 80-90% of the time over my laptop and I carry it almost every where I go. Even in the house it travels from room to room and is such a convenience to use because it is instantly available. Hit the home button and I am reading emails, checking RSS feeds, etc. etc. For me it really does change how I access information and how often.

Now I could go on and on about the virtues of this device but what about from a real business case and justification. Beyond the usual easy of use, ability to type and read emails and other online services, the real value has been in having my photography available at the most opportune times. I am amazed at how often I will be in a discussion with someone, totally unrelated to photography when the subject comes up. "Oh you are a commercial photographer, what kind of work do you do" is a typical lead in.

A few weeks ago I was in a cell phone store with my wife and we were making some changes to her phone plan. While my wife was talking to Jose who has helped us for years and has one of the best customer service attitudes of anyone I have ever worked with, I was talking with one of the other guys who works there. Some how we got talking about sports and he told me is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu. This peaked my interest because I am looking for someone to work with on a sports portrait project. Obviously this lead to the oh you are a photographer comment and of course I told him all about my work.  Then it hit me, I had my iPad in the car, "hold on a minute I will show you some of my work", I told him. I sprinted out to the car like a kid at Christmas running anxious to show another unsuspecting hostage my portfolio.

After a few minutes I had the rest of the sales staff and even a few customers looking at my work, oohing and aahing and asking me all kinds of questions about the images. Next thing I know they start asking for business cards and I am handing them out like candy at Halloween. This is not an unusual experience at a typical networking event where people are expected to share information about their company and services but it is not something I expect at a retail cell phone store.

Our business is very visual (duh) and so many times people will ask me about photography in general or the type of work I do. I often find it difficult to describe the role of a commercial photographers and even harder to describe one of my signature images. When you say wedding photographer most everyone get it's it, but explaining an ad campaign using composites or an editorial portrait using dramatic lighting is a bit of a challenge.

The iPad has allowed me not only to carry my work with me and update it or customize it on the fly, but it also has given me more opportunities such as the this one than I never expected. Handing an iPad to someone and allowing them to view, stop and stare or flip through the images with the touch of their finger has not only paid for itself. But has allowed me to engage people whom I would never have considered a potential client. For me people is what my business is all about, the more I can engage them and get the opportunity to learn about their lives, interest and business, the better photographer I become.

Can Photography Determine the Success of Your Product ?

Recently, in a discuss group made up of magazine editors, the question was asked, "Do Photos Make a Difference Getting Product Placement". Overwhelming the response was yes they make the difference. The editors made the point that often they receive great articles or press releases on potential stories they want to run but because the photos are so bad or not provided at all they are unable to run the story.

For example here are a couple of quotes:

"They certainly do. I don't publish any news articles on my website without pictures."

"I think *good* high-res photography is very much an aesthetic thing. Who wants to read a solid block of text? Not I. Graphic elements are an improvement, but nothing attracts the eye like a great photo."

"I can say that finding good, well-composed, well-lit, high resolution images is our toughest job. Too many people think they can just point their cellphone at something and get a good photo. Cellphone cameras are the 21st Century version of a Kodak Brownie."

"Like a written brochure, photography is a reflection on the company itself. If you read a brochure that is full of spelling and grammar errors, and looks and reads amateurish, it reflects badly on the company. ame with photography. If it looks like it was taken by a digital Brownie, it implies the company doesn't care about quality."

The comments all made the point that quality photography was critical in the ability to get coverage for a product or service, and this was especially true for a new product. But what surprised me was a number of comments were aimed at Public Relations and Marketing companies who either did not provide photography for their clients or expected the editor to download, re-size or track down the images.

Hiring an experienced working professional photographer to convey there product or service can often be considered expensive. But in considering any purchase there is always the issue of price verse cost. The price is the dollar amount paid for a product or service but the cost to a company is calculated by the final results. In the end a companies image, brand and possible success is reflected by the photography presented to the market. Of course, as these publishers point out, it's possible some may never get that opportunity.