Bill Adler Photography Website Link

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cell Phone Pix

Here is an interesting shot from a recent AC\DC concert:

(C)2009 Bill Adler

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eric Draper - Exit Interview with White House Chief Photographer

Eric Draper, Chief White House Photographer (his actual title is Director of the White House Photo Office) will be leaving after covering President Bush for the past eight years. His access to the President is said to rival David Hume Kennerly's access to Ford. Draper has set a high bar for the incoming photographer, Pete Souza. Photo District News featured Draper in an excellent article a few issues back. I found this video recently and wanted to share:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Remembering Eddie Adams

On the set with Eddie Adams and Phyllis Schlafly.
(C)Bill Adler
Many years ago I had the opportunity to spend some time and study with one of the great photojournalists of the 20th century, Eddie Adams, who left us in 2004. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his chilling image of a Viet Cong guerilla summarily executed upon capture. All told, he won over 500 awards.
When I met him, he was becoming well known for his celebrity portraiture. He was using only a large soft box as the Key light, and black boards for a negative fill. This prevented the light from wrapping around the subject at close range and produced a window light effect with definable shadow quality. I had never seen the use of black boards and was intrigued with this scheme. It was always better to just watch him work than to ask a bunch of questions - which usually lead to an uncontrollable rath of fury. So, I just kept my mouth shut and learned by observation.
He also used a tripod, focused and then intentionally kept his head above the camera so as not to place any physical obstacle between himself and the subject. This created a sense of intimacy and trust, resulting in photographs that are revealing and honest. It was never about cameras or lighting or complex studio sets. It was all about interaction between Eddie and the subject. It was about creating a dynamic in which the capture became secondary.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back Cover Photograph for New Hot Rods CD

Just submitted the final image to appear on the back cover of the new Hot Rods upcoming CD, The Hot Rods. Destined for big things, this "punkabilly" ensemble is backed by JustWest Entertainment (consisting of powerhouse promoters Lanny West and Leslie Fram, the morning radio personality at New York's premier rock station RXP 101.9) and Jonny Hibbert, the man that discovered REM and produced their first mega hit, Radio Free Europe. The band has just signed an exclusive deal with Universal Music Group.

Author Photograph: Geoff Smart and Randy Street

I recently received my copy of Who: The A Method for Hiring (Random House), by management wunderkinds Geoff Smart and Randy Street. We created the author jacket photograph last summer during our second photo session. This new study became the number one book in the world sold on and has been on the New York Times best seller list for weeks.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Providing Diplomatic Photography Services

This particular niche is an excellent source of business development. It allows front line access to high level personalities and events, while further positioning you among other potential clients. Obviously, geography is a factor in your success, as the majority of embassies and consulates are located in Washington, New York and other large metropolitan areas.

Targeting your prospects must be done with great care. You are there to provide professional services, true, but politics are always a consideration - whether your personal convictions or governmental concern. For example, providing services to the Canadians or Japanese is not an issue. The same cannot be said of the Iranians or North Koreans, so spend some time researching prior to contact.

Understand that it is of the utmost importance to acknowledge the qualities of personal manners, etiquette and decorum. Many times you may be traveling with a diplomatic entourage, and it is essential that you are able to completely blend in. Attention should be on wardrobe, with a predisposition to dark suits, white dress shirts and polished shoes.

When attending a gathering with a senior officer, such as an Ambassador or Consul General, always allow sufficient personal space to allow them to roam unrestricted. The actual term for this is to “not restrict their movement” as a Secret Service agent pointed out to me many years ago when photographing President George H. W. Bush. I was in just a bit too close to allow free movement in any direction, and I have taken this advice to heart. It is important to try to photograph each person speaking to your subject, but equally important to do so unobtrusively. Properly executed, you are not even noticed. Ideally, you need take only one shot. These particular images are important in that they serve not only as a visual database for future recognition, but a powerful public relations tool to forward to each guest. There is great news value in an individual “conferring with the Ambassador”. Make sure you take wide angle shots to capture everyone in the room. These may be required for security reasons.

Whenever possible, try to photograph using available light. Your gear requirements should include a vibration reduction lens to allow for razor sharp images in low light conditions. To further facilitate this process, a digital camera with a large chip, (such as high-end Nikon or Canon) is essential. Every time your strobe fires you cause a distraction, so use sparingly. Obviously this caution will not apply to all situations, such as a news conference or taking group photographs. I work with the least amount of equipment possible for numerous reasons. First, I enjoy the freedom of movement this affords. I dislike being bogged down with gear. Secondly, a bunch of cameras and a bag hanging from you simple takes up too much room in small quarters and are not practical. You want to avoid distracting any attention from your client. I usually work with one camera, one fast variable focus lens and one mounted strobe. My bag is small, containing an extra body, flash, media card reader and batteries. Usually there will be draped tables at events, and you can stash your bag there temporarily.

Timing is everything, and these images must be delivered as soon as possible. I carry a notebook computer in my car to allow me to burn a DVD immediately and pass on to the public affairs officer if needed. I can also FTP the images to a server for client download, create and post a slide show and email specific shots to news outlets as directed. This allows for almost instant distribution, increasing the opportunities for publication. My workflow includes importing the images into Lightroom for naming, global corrections and exporting high resolution files directly to DVD.

Other types of photography services needed may include staff photographs for websites and PR. Formal publicity portraits are common requests for the Ambassador, Consul General and other senior personnel.