When she’s not hiring photographers or wrangling photo shoots — or, gasp, telling an AD they can’t use an image because they don’t have the rights — Art Production Supervisor Kellie Bingman gets to travel the country, or at least go to New York to review photography portfolios at the PDN PhotoPlus International Expo and Conference. We talked with her recently about her trip.
Question: Did you notice any new trends or anything that stood out while you were at the expo?
Kellie: I wouldn’t say new trends, but one thing stood out to me, and that was several photographers I reviewed showed me work that was the result of them plussing a project. After capturing all of the required shots, they would push just a little more by grabbing extra shots or spontaneously trying something a little different than prescribed. Some of those shots ended up being used and some didn’t, but what I appreciated was that in this day of smaller budgets for more shots you still have shooters that are going the extra mile. I know that art directors always appreciate that kind of collaboration.
Q: Any thoughts then about the demands on today’s shooters?
A: We’ve always lived in a visual society, but now more than ever photography has become ingrained in our everyday lives. Image creation has become universal, and viewers have developed a more sophisticated eye. Social media has created the demand for more content and now the trick is to stand out.
Q: You took part in the Emerging and Pro Portfolio Review. How were the portfolios you reviewed? What did you think?
K: Of the 12 I saw, I would say only two weren’t really ready for “prime time.” But the rest were really good, and I saw some interesting new work. There were reviewers there from a lot of different disciplines, but I think many of the photographers who attended the review like to meet with the art producers because they are looking to make connections with agencies. For the most part, their books were high level, and most of them were shooters I’d consider for future work.
Q: So, you felt like it was a worthwhile event for the photographers and for you?
K: Yes, it was definitely worthwhile for me. Not only to get to see so many photographers so quickly — it was kind of like speed dating — it was also great that I got to interact with so many industry colleagues, such as other art producers and photography reps. It’s always provides me with insight when I meet other people who do what I do. It’s a really great way of benchmarking.
Q: Speaking to that, the ability to perform a sort of industry or professional benchmarking, was it an interesting group performing the reviews?
K: It was. There were reviewers from agencies like Droga5, Deutsch and Saatchi, and talent reps like Apostrophe and JK Artist Management. In addition, there were folks from Vanity Fair and Wired as well as The Atlantic and The New York Times. It was a pretty diverse and interesting group, for sure.