It's not often that I enter photo competitions, but this is one that I wanted to be part of.
The Spark Photo Festival is very similar to the CONTACT photography festival in Toronto. Both go on for an entire month. CONTACT in May and Spark in April.
I think it is a terrific idea to have such an event, celebrating the beauty that is photography in Peterborough. SPACE[s] is a Juried Exhibit, and is part of Spark.
I was intrigued to be part of the festival in any capacity that thought I could be, so the juried exhibit was the perfect fit for me; at least until next year.
If I had a decent body of work, and access to printing facilities in Peterborough where I could control the printing, and display processes I would certainly have entered the Spark gallery display component.
Starting off my involvement in the festival by entering the juried exhibit is the perfect first move.
Today was the last day to enter. Uncharacteristically, I waited until the last day to enter. That was fine, as it gave me a little bit of pressure to make sure I got the images just so.
I'm still a bit weary about handing over a disk with digital files, as it leaves me no longer in control. If in fact one or more of my submissions are chosen to be printed and put on display, it will be out of my hands, out of my control. Maybe that's the control freak in me. I don't think I'm alone in how I feel.
I made each image to be exactly what they are. Handing them off to a stranger to be printed just feels wrong; and it leaves me feeling uneasy. I don't know what the printer is thinking when they look over the image. I don't know if they will make any adjustments, and if so in what way.
Printing is an art in itself. Yes, I wish every day that I had a professional quality printer hooked up to my computer. I do not. My major purchase this year perhaps. I feel a fund raising campaign coming on.
Wish me luck in the competition, and please come out to see the Spark exhibits in April.
Shooting to spec
A while back I was involved in shooting a magazine cover for a national woodworking magazine. At this time I was rather green about negotiating my fee for such jobs, but I had done it in the past so it wasn't completely foreign to me. As a rule, I knew it was forbidden to blurt out numbers upon an initial phone conversation. It's just not done. To do so is a clear indication that you are green and ill-prepared.
Basically, the first couple of conversations are all about gathering information. Then I would collect the data and using past experience and other information, I would form a quote for the job.
Well, in my excitement and early morning stupor I broke my own rule and spat out a number.
When I was done with the call and had put the phone down I felt like kicking myself in the head. I knew I had broken my own rule, had probably lost respect of the client and at least 2 times the rate I could have gotten.
I have not worked for that client since.
Negotiating a rate for a job is an art. It also takes skill and experience. Having flubbed that quote I am reminded of those requirements every time I see a magazine cover. Especially a wood working magazine.
Today, I was reminded again as I looked over a post by a photo editor who recounted a project that a photographer was quoting on. This particular project was a book cover with an initial printing of half a million copies. The fee that was finalized was impressive and could easily pay my mortgage for 9 months. We don't see those types of fees here in Peterborough. But I can dream, right?
Shooting to spec is something that I really don't enjoy doing anymore. The stress of making an image to another person's specifications, under a deadline is not what I consider a good time.
I still envision creating amazing art and people clamouring over each other to buy it. What artist doesn't? Photography is my passion, art is my expression. I love to make images as I see them in my head based on what the camera is capturing. Knowing that others share my love of imagery is a wonderful feeling. Shooting to spec is too much pressure to perform. By the way I don't do weddings anymore either.
The site where I found the article about Pricing and Negotiating a non-fiction book cover is here. It's a good read if you are interested in learning about the real world of publishing and photography. I'll continue to create interesting imagery, doing it my way. If people find a liking to it and feel that it is a worthy investment then great. Maybe I'll pay the mortgage after all.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
For those of us interested in better marketing techniques, get this book.