Saturday, February 28, 2015

Creating A Stand Out PR Image

Funny elephant photo of a young boy riding his bicycle down the back of a delighted elephant!
This humorous photo of a young boy riding his bicycle down an elephant's back was created to fulfill the need for a PR image for a bicycle company that would stand out from the crowd. I think we succeeded!

Just put together this image for a friend, Jeff Cleary, who has started a new bicycle company “Cleary Bikes” creating adult style bicycles for kids. He wanted an image of a youngster riding on one of his bicycles to use for multiple PR purposes, but he wanted the image to be something that was out of the ordinary and that would grab people’s attention.

Jeff is familiar with my work with funny animals and suggested that we could have a kid riding his bicycle down an elephant’s back. Hmmm…that would certainly be different! 

We had a model, a young boy who was about as cute as they come (and at first impression painfully shy) come in to my studio for the shoot. Jeff helped steady him as he balanced on the bike with it’s rear wheel up on an apple crate to approximate the correct body position. The little boy was awesome. We told him to look really excited…and he got into it immediately with a huge open-mouthed grin that was perfect.  After the first six frames or so I checked the images and realized I had inadvertently opened up the f stop and was pretty badly overexposing…so we did it again and our model continued to give us that wonderful expression.

With the photography part of the job completed I turned to the imaging. I selected an elephant from a shoot I did years ago in Thailand and combined four captures to piece together the big pachyderm into a funny pose appropriate for a kid riding a bike down it’s back.  Next I pieced together a background. The immediate foreground was from a scene I photographed in Yemen, and the distant mountains and sky from Black Rock Desert (think Burning man). I then added appropriate shadows to “ground” the elephant into the scene.


I used the pen tool to create a clipping path around the model riding the bike, made the selection, and copied and pasted it into the elephant image. A little bit of adjustment for size, angle and position (and the hardest part...removing logos from the shoes!) and (Voila!) a truly unique bicycling image!

Of course, as part of the deal I have stock photo rights, and after removing the remaining logos I submitted the image to Blend Images as a Rights Managed stock photo. 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great concept! as always. However,a friend of mine, quite a big name photographer got curious about Blend. He found that life-styles outnumbered all other categories, 10/1.
So it's yet another life-style agency? which would mean if you specialize in life-styles you have cut-throat competition and if you don't you have zero chance?
Just asking really.

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

The vast majority of Blend sales are through agencies such as Getty, Corbis, Masterfile, and so on. If you have an image with Getty you have all of Getty's images plus all of the third party images competing with you. With Blend, of course, the same is true, but you also have visibility on all of those other sites...and on their own website as well (for which you can get up to 50% royalties). So yeah, you do have a lot of competition...same as everywhere!

To be successful you need visibility AND the images that businesses need AND that are better than the images next to them.

Some people do fantastically well at stock...a lot don't....

John

Anonymous said...

John IS right that to be successful, you need to have visibility and the images that businesses need and that are better than the images next to them--that is all true. He is wrong about Blend being good for the photographer (unless, ofcourse your're an owner, like he is). Blend acts like a broker and take a nice piece of the pie (sales). Its best for photographers to have their own direct contracts with Getty and Corbis. Joining Blend is not a good deal for the average photographer....only if you are an owner (like John!). And the argument that Blend will get your images all over the place is rubbish. All other agencies like Superstock and microstock are all a waste of time. Getty and Corbis make up the majority of sales in stock photography. I speak from experience. I had thousands of images with Superstock and it was a complete waste of time. Made minimal. Switched most of them to Getty and make much much more. Enough said.

Jaak Nilson said...

It is very hard to get direct contract. It is almost impossible. I mean Getty and Corbis. Getty and Corbis loves a brokers, because G & C get well keyworded and selected images from them. For example Getty is not checking images from Blend. No quality control and no editing. It means that Blend is very highly respected by Getty. Images are controlled by Blend previously.

Today some people found that Corbis is better than Getty. While Getty has a problems ( all the time) with money. Actually Getty has no money, they have a big loan. While an investors wants money so there is a pressure and Getty sells images like microstock.
Of course an every photographer has different images and styles and opinions are very different too.

Anonymous said...

Jaak! only Corbis don't sell anything! life there is miserable among contributors. Take it from me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is very hard to get a direct contract with Getty. It took me 7 years to get one but it was well worth it. I persevered. That is the only real way to make some $ in stock. Micro and mid-size agencies (i.e. Masterfile, Superstock) are a complete waste of time. If you want to make some $ is stock, you got to go with Getty. It might take years to get that direct contract....like I said, it took me 7 years...but worth the wait!

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

Owner of Blend or not, last quarter 49% of my Blend sales were through Getty...the rest from other distributors ranging from Corbis to Alamy to Amana (Japan) to Masterfile, and yes, even Superstock. There is also an ever growing number through Blend direct for which even non owners can get a 50% royalty. As a Blend photographer, owner or not, I benefit from better search placement within Getty as well. Non owners at Blend can earn more than being with Getty directly and have more of an upside and less risk through diversity. I personally think a stock photographer should be with Getty AND with Blend...my two cents. Again.

John

Anonymous said...

John: I guess it all depends how much Blend takes as the middleman. I find it hard to believe that photographers at Blend make more than having a direct contract with Getty. You are an owner so would know the inside scoop. I just find it hard to believe the middleman (Blend) takes so little to make it worth while...but I could be wrong.....do most Blend photographers have a direct contract with Getty? That would be good to know....what's the ratio?

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

If you meet a certain yearly contribution number then as a Blend photographer you get a 50% royalty. That is really the way to go. We have well over 100 contributing photographers and I don't know all of which ones have Getty contracts...but many do. I know two such photographers who have actually pulled there work from Getty to put it into Blend...I know one who has pulled (or at least he said he was doing it) his work from Masterfile to put into Blend...and I know two photographers who have totally quit adding to their Getty contributions and instead are giving all of their work to Blend. Only one of the afore mentioned photographers is a Blend owner. When I am in Miami at the Blend Creative meeting in April I will talk to a lot of contributing photographers and see if I can get a better handle on who has Getty contracts and how they feel about it.

Thanks,

John

Anonymous said...

That would be good to know John (how many Blend contributors have direct Getty contracts also)! It took me 7 years to get the lucrative Getty direct contract, so I sure as heck aint' givin' it up--and Im sure you wont give it up too! I know many photographers who have tried and tried and tried to no avail to get a direct Getty contract--so I feel blessed! I can understand the Masterfile photog. you referred to switching over to Blend. Mid-stock agencies such as Sueperstock and Masterfile are, in my opinion, are a waste of time. I had thousands of images with Superstock--closed it out,,,,it was a waste of time and energy.

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

You are right...I do not recommend giving up a Getty contract...just diversifying and seeing what works first hand. Getty is still the big dog....

Thanks!

John

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