Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How To Capture Life after FIVE O'CLOCK

Brad Ward of SquaredPeg and BlogHighEd fame wrote a pretty good postyesterday about the new photo service Pixish.

It was the comment trail on this post between Brad and Tony Dunn of Tales of Redesign Land that inspired me to write this post.  Brad and Tony (a fellow photographer) were discussing the effects of services like Pixish and Flickr most notably what they do to the professional photography market. 

Tony said "this is another example of crowdsourcing, which is wonderful and cool and great for people looking for photos, but it seriously devalues the work of professionals who are trying to make a living" 

Brad comes back with a great line that is so true "I merely want to use these images for areas like our forums and blogs, not for our main pages or for publications. For one, we pay someone to take those photos. However, he isn’t here past 5, and it’s hard to capture true student life between 8-5. We really like what Colby College is doing; and are using this to test the waters of having students take photos for our sites."

This is where they caught my attention.

It is so true, and I see it all the time. Most true campus life happens after FIVE.

What is the typical evening for most college students?

My experience is they all go to eat dinner and then from there it's a mystery. We commonly are on campus well past five to shoot "real" life events. (dorms, gym, intramurals, club meetings, varsity games, etc...)

I'm with Brad on this, there are some unbelievably talented student photographers out there that we should be utilizing. The problem is making compelling images that stand out, not just "grip and grin"..

How do we capture these moments in a real way to convey to prospective students that College doesn't end at Five O'Clock?

To see our entire online portfolio of admissions marketing photography goto: FJ GAYLOR Photography


Tony Dunn said...

"The problem is making compelling images that stand out, not just 'grip and grin'.."

I teach photography at our local community college (in addition to all the other stuff I do... I used to wonder how people did fours jobs and still had a life. Now I know: they don't.)

And I am a huge supporter of leveraging student talent for real world purposes, particularly when it's part of the academic program.

Teaming up with the Photography faculty to give students assignments to capture evening activities on campus (with the acknowledgment that the university has full right to use and reproduce their work, yada yada) is a great idea.

And it addresses your main issue of making compelling images. If such assignments were integrated into a program or class, students have the opportunity to learn from peer and client critiques what works and what doesn't in their images.

And rather than depend on a mishmash of randomly submitted photos, you would be focusing on students with at least some knowledge of photographic principles. And for those students who plan to pursue photography as a profession, it would give them real life experience trying to meet the needs of a client.

We work at universities and colleges, and we have a huge resource in our students. And we, even if we aren't professors, often have a lot to offer the students in the way of real life experience.

The fact that we don't use this more is a shame.

Bradjward said...

I wish our school had some photography classes, Tony is dead on about the leveraging opportunity.

Great post, Joe. I have a feeling we'll all be thinking about utilizing students better as the days go on.

And really, what better job is there on campus (besides student blogger!) than a photographer? Getting paid (or getting experience/portfolio materials) for doing a hobby? Shooting events through college were some of the greatest times for me, and I came out with great images of all of my friends to cherish forever. That's a big part of my '10,000' photo Flickr upload goal... being able to send the link to all my friends and let them relive the memories that I do every time I sort through my photos.

Dang, I was going to go to bed. Now I think I'm going to tag some photos, haha!

Jeremy Wilburn said...

Excellent Post! That is something that I have been struggling with myself actually. WE have a lot of events that occur in the evenings. I remember as a student photographer I would get the call to do these after 5 p.m. events. Now, I'm working my 8-5 and then staying late to shoot at night. But it is definitely where the good stuff is at. I have proposed (unofficially) to use pixish for a while to recruit students to take photos and submit them with the promise that if they are what we are looking for, they will get published, with photo credits. Perfect for someone wanting to get more out of their photography. Students who can take good/great photos are a huge untapped market for sure.

FJ Gaylor Photography said...

Thanks for the great insight Guys. The student creative group is an unbelievable resource of untapped potential.

The only thing is that I have found is that the most talented of this bunch tends to be into their own thing.

I found a kid in Texas that is UNREAL, I've called him several times over the last couple of years to see if he was interested in traveling a bit in the SW region with us and shooting the entire time and paying him quite well. I've never heard back from him..

I will keep trying as I know they are great assets.