It’s funny how commercials have a way of completely escaping your memory, and then seem to resurface again every few years. This is one of them. Directed by Trevor Clarence, this 2009 ad for South African franchise of the restaurant chain Wimpy illustrates just how careful you need to be as a microphone boom operator, especially around delicate sets.
In honor of Inktober, Isaac Alvarez of UNPLUG Production made his own ink-related project. But rather than making an ink drawing, he focused on commercial watch photography. He used only a simple two-light setup and some super-cheap items, most of which we all have lying around the house. Despite the low-budget setup, the results are professional-looking, so let’s dive in and see how he did it.
In September 2016 my Photography Agents, Vaughn-Hannigan, abruptly closed their doors after 10 years in business. Since then I have been without an agent, representing myself, and I thought I would look back and ask the question which has been lingering with me through this time:
To Agent or not to Agent?
Those of us in the UK who grew up in the 1980s will mostly remember George Cole as the lovable rogue Arthur Daley in the TV show Minder, which ran from 1979 until 1994. But this wasn’t all he was doing. In the ’80s, he was also moonlighting in adverts for Olympus, along with legendary fashion and portrait photographer David Bailey.
These TV commercials advertise the fancy “new” all-in-one Olympus cameras, like the Olympus AZ 300 Super Zoom, Olympus Trip AF, and the Olympus AF-10, and they show that attitudes towards gear and elitism have never really changed. I think we all know people like this, even if just online if not in real life.
It’s standard practice for commercial photography clients to ask photographers their ‘day rate’. Most estimates that photographers provide start with a day rate before going on to production costs and expenses.
Now I used to think I could simply take it for granted that anyone involved in the industry would be able to appreciate this isn’t exactly what a photographer or for that matter any independent creative professional working on a short term project earns for every single day of the year.
I’ve realised that the world of photography is in so much flux that this isn’t a safe assumption and now I much prefer to provide a rate for each job. My reasons can be best illustrated with an example.
Product videos are a lot of fun to shoot. As is product photography. Coming up with different unique ways to show off a product is an exciting challenge. Doing it on a low budget, even more so. In this video, filmmaker Todd Blankenship creates three product ads with minimal kit and shows the gear, sets and lighting setups used to make them.
If you have not seen Spike Jonze’s ‘Welcome Home’ ad for the Homepod, you must be living under a rock. Let me fill you in. In the ad, dancer FKA twigs realizes that her home can expand and contract to match her dance moves. It is a visual candy.
The big excitement about the clip comes from the fact that 99% of the clip is not done in a computer, it’s done in camera, by actually creating a real-life sized expanding house (or at least parts of it).
Magdalena is a Toronto, Canada based editorial and commercial portraiture photographer and art director. Her work has been featured by numerous lifestyle, fashion and design magazines and brands.
She is also the Editor-in-Chief at Avidly Home Magazine.
It’s not surprising when camera companies hire photographers to pitch their products. But photographers have also been enlisted to sell other types of products; the result of Madison Avenue trying to romanticize the occupation, even though the reality often fails to meet the expectation. Nowadays photographers are more likely to spend the majority of their time sitting at a desk in post processing, or trying to collect on invoices that are 6 months past due.
Nevertheless, we’ve seen a number of companies in a variety of industries employ photographers in their ad campaigns in the past few years, spanning the gamut from the old living icons to the newest generation of light chasers.