The Phoenix SMUG welcomed Ryan Emenecker, creative director, and Adam Garcia, senior graphic designer, from Canyon Communications, a top Phoenix advertising agency. Ryan and Adam came and taught us “The Photo Shoot to Photoshop” by finding and working with models, tips on marketing yourself to an agency, and Photoshop tips.
28 people came to hear Ryan and Adam give advice on breaking into the advertising market as a photographer. Ryan began his talk by stating: “I hate taking photos.” That’s not exactly what photographers usually come to hear, but Ryan’s unique perspective from the advertising side captured everyone’s attention. “I love photographers – you make my job, and what we present to the client, great,“ he said, and he gave some tips on how photographers can get their foot in the door of the advertising industry.
When looking for models, Ryan’s advice is to use friends, family, and co-workers for models. It has the obvious benefit of being cost effective for everyone concerned, but the drawbacks of that are they don’t have acting experience, they are not comfortable in front of the camera, and it is hard to find the right person for the job. Professional models, on the other hand, are comfortable in front of the camera, it is easier to find exactly the right person, but they are more expensive. Art and graphic designers don't want to hear, “We can Photoshop that out later,” so it's important to get the right models and to get it right in-camera
When it comes to connecting and developing relationships with ad agencies, Ryan suggested:
- Contact the creative director, art director, designer or production manager by phone, not email. Email is too easy to delete.
- You may want to consider doing your first photo shoot for free, to demonstrate that you understand the needs of the agency's clients.
- Have an online portfolio and website that is easy to navigate, showing photos from different industries.
A photographer’s specialty is to “make our dreams come true. Be creative using people and places.” The photographer’s role is to bring the ideas of the creative
designers to life, and they want to be able to trust the photographer with their vision.
His suggestions were:
- Use a studio, if possible, to save time and travel expenses.
- Be creative with suggestions for lighting and placement of models and products.
- Be aware of the things that don’t belong in a shot (like a stray piece of paper, cords, etc.),
- Be on time.
- It is also important to understand where the final photos are going to be placed– magazine, an online campaign, flyer, and other medias, so that you can shoot accordingly.
Adam’s skills as an artist are used at the advertising agency to sketch a clients ideas and take it from concept to photo shoot to Photoshop. After his sketch is complete, he will photograph the concept with a friend or fellow employee, and then the professional photographer is enlisted to bring the idea to a higher level. By clipping objects out of a photo, or compositing images together, Adam creates the clients final vision in Photoshop if they were unable to get what was needed in the initial photo shoot. His Photoshop tip for the group was about alpha channels and how to use them to adjust different areas of a photo independently.
We all had a great time at the SMUG, and Adam and Ryan were great speakers. Our next meeting will be just as informational, so if you're in the Phoenix area, make sure to check out our group to polish your photography skills!