Appropriating photos for other purposes?

We had a photography assignment, which my colleagues had planned out very well, and with lots of advance notice. Included in the plan, in great detail, were very good examples of the types of photos they needed for their project. Because they had a clear idea of what they wanted, it made the assignment much easier to organize.

It still took weeks to coordinate the photographer and the 20+ subjects for the shoot, including their availability during certain timeslots, organizing certain combinations of people, and their wardrobes.

We then scouted locations and selected the venues and got the required permissions to use those spaces. Once this was done, we did the usual paperwork, permission forms, notifications to security, etc.

On the day of the shoot, we arrived early to set up the different venues, including tables, chairs, props, lighting and test shots.

The photographer did a fantastic job, and processed the images very quickly. Once completed, the project was met with great enthusiasm and gratitude. It was exactly what they were looking for, even more than they were looking for.

The success has backfired, however. Other people started noticing the great photos and wanted to use them for other projects. The photos are now being used in ways they were never intended to be used, and in different contexts. I now hear complaints about these photos in every meeting I attend. The criticism continues, and no one seems to remember that these photos had a very specific purpose and goal, one that was achieved in its original purpose.

The solution? If you look through existing photo resources and do not see a photo that works for you, plan a new photoshoot. This way anyone who needs specific types of photos have the freedom and autonomy to organize and plan a shoot using your own resources, in a planful and methodical way, with clarity of purpose.

What do you think?

Shooting in Montreal

We spent the day scouting for our shoot in Montreal. So many wonderful old buildings on cobblestone streets. But this one caught our eye, and it was our first choice for a backdrop. The plaque on the building lists it as the home of the Marquis Michel Chartier de Lotbiniere, 1723-1799, Ingenieur du Roi.


We scouted the office building as our second venue, and from the 44th floor we had a spectacular view of the city. Our plan was coming together. We just had to return the next day and photograph our subject.


But when we returned the next day, the view had changed to a thick foggy mess. No one would know there was a city there at all. But by the time we set up the lights, worked with the hair and makeup expert, and got ready to shoot, the fog lifted and we once again saw the beautiful city out the windows.



The third stage of the plan was a studio setup, in case the weather was bad or the office building didn’t work out. The studio was unique, old stone walls on either side of a clean white seamless backdrop. After grabbing a bite to eat, we set up and began shooting here.



We stopped every so often to review images and make adjustments.


After an hour and a half, a few wardrobe changes and lighting adjustments, we reviewed the work again.


It was a wrap! All the planning, traveling, scheduling and hard work had paid off, as the pieces fell into place. It was a great collaboration with smart and talented people, a beautiful city and some help from Mother Nature.

Showcasing our campus

The photo above was taken by Milan Stanic, SHU graduate, class of 2011. Milan has been wandering campus during the early hours and later in the day, looking for new and different ways to capture the beauty of the place. Most people are surprised when they see this shot, because the buildings are not strikingly beautiful during the day.

But when the sun is just right, you may see something like this, just for a brief moment.
Thanks for capturing this for us, Milan.