Written By Wally Stemberger
I thought I’d write about a project I was involved in, and, what I took away from it. A couple of things that perplexed me, and some that made me glad that I did it. What was it? Collaboration to submit to a online magazine.
So, what are these online magazines, or ezine? Well, in essence, they are like any magazine found at the book and magazine stand you may find at your local grocery store or even book store like Chapters. Difference being is that they are, for the most part, digital, although some can be ordered as hard copies.
And who creates these ezines? Pretty much anyone that can organize themselves and market themselves via a website or on a ezine cloud. All you need to start is some decent skills with a program such as Adobe InDesign.
But now to my experiences. There was a call from a MUA (make-up artist) that they wanted to do a make-up session on a model for submission to one of these magazines. The theme would be bridal and it would be a TF (Trade For. In the days of film, it would be Trade For Prints but nowadays its trade for Files). A model that I’ve worked with extensively over the past five years said she’d like to and submitted my name to do the shoot. I thought to myself the this would an interesting shoot and said that I would. And this is where, in my opinion, I was burdened with the bulk of the legwork.
We set up a date with the model, MUA and a stylist that supplied the wedding. So, here, I would have to shoot with these three people in mind. Each would have to get images on top of the submission images for their own purposes in promoting themselves. Not a problem since the magazine wanted about 8-15 images and they would only only publish 4-8 images. I could easily take more images and hand them over for their effort.
Now, in chatting with all parties, I thought it best that we shoot in Scarborough. I live in Brantford, and the model resided out near St Catherines. And, I had a brother that resides in Scarborough that we could use as a staging location. Yes, he also photographs but on a much smaller scale. Quick chat with him and we were able to set that up.
Now for a location for this shoot. A site was suggested and I looked into it. $300 for an hour and a half of time for this location. Beautiful as it was, as this was a TF for all involved, who was going to pick up that tab? So I searched further and then I remembered of one photographer that often shoots at the Scarborough Bluffs. I looked into that local and the park was public and we’d be able to shoot there without any costs. I made arrangements to visit my brother and went down to case the location. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was in awe of the bluffs. This would absolutely be a good spot.
So, day of the shoot. I made arrangements to pick up both my models from their home just outside St Catherines. We then drove to my brothers in light rain. Yes, thru Toronto rush hour traffic for 3 hours. Got there just before our meet-up time of 10 am.. The MUA was running a bit late but she did make it in decent time and stated working on the models. Total time for that was just over 2 hours. The Stylist did show at about 11 and the ladies were fitted with their wedding dresses.
All this time, we were checking the weather reports and crossing out fingers that we wouldn’t be shooting in the rain. Plan was that it was raining, I did bring a couple of backdrops and studio lights that we could shoot indoors. Off to the bluffs we went.
We got there and to our disappointment, it was foggy. It was very difficult to see the bluffs at all. But to our benefit, the light was even and no rain. So we ventured closer to the waters and set ourselves up to shoot. The Stylist also runs a video service for weddings and was able to shoot that. Again, good lighting with no harsh shadows made for very decent images for all.
Overall, we all had a good time. We shot for about 2-2.5 hours and were able to get pretty much what we wanted despite the weather, and back to my brothers for a quick drink before bringing my models back home. But of, course, the ladies were hungry and I ended up taking them to a local fast food restaurant. Just as well, cos I was starting to feel the hunger, also.
Again, a long drive back thru Toronto traffic. By the time I got home, it was almost dark but work wasn’t quite done for the day. Fire up the computer and uploaded the images to the proper folders. So many images that it took about an hour there. Good time for some dinner and put my feet up before retiring for the day.
I didn’t get to the images until a few days later. Yes, the dayjob does get in the way. But that weekend, I was able to sort the images for processing. For those that may want to know, I currently use Capture One Pro. Rating images is similar to Lightroom. Either by number or colour. This is where the work begins. I had to pick out several images to send to each of the MUA and the Stylist as well as those for the magazine. And each of those had to be touched up, mostly with Affinity Photo, but a couple which needed further enhancing so I used Photoshop, which I’m still more proficient at despite AP being able to do the same things. Just faster when you know the programs.
And it finally came. I was finished, and was able to send all the images to their designated destinations. And wait for the rejection from the magazine. It never came. We were published. They accepted about half of what I sent. I then got hold of all parties involved and told them of the email and to watch for the issue to come out.
So, there you have it. The adventures of this photographer to get published in one of these online magazines. But what did I get from it? Well, overall, not a whole lot. It seemed to me, at least, that those that saw the magazine gave kudos to the models and then to the MUA. The Stylist and I seemed to be somewhat left out of the recognition part. The Stylist had done these before and shooting the video to promote herself gave her pretty much what she wanted.
I walked away feeling somewhat empty. Two trips out to Scarborough, setting up the dates and locations and well as making sure that the models were both safe and fed, with transportation provided. And then the several hours of processing the
images, and making sure that they went to the proper locations. Now I’m not sure if this is par for these submissions as this was my first but it did make me question whether it was worth the effort and expenditure. Would I do it again? I think that depends. For the model that I worked with, more than likely. Would I like to work with the MUA and Stylist again? They did make these ladies look absolutely great.
Guess it comes down to what a photographer would like to do. This is not a inexpensive venture for us. Cameras can cost in the $3000-5000 range. Add a couple of fast lenses, lighting, tripods and modifiers. And the computer system that I use is custom built for speed and capacity. And to learn how to use that equipment as well and the image processing programs. It is something to consider.
Like to thank the MUA, Sarah. The Stylist, Shivani. And my two very beautiful models, Brittany Noonan and Stela Trudeau. You ladies were all so amazing. Thank you.
Wally Stemberger is a fashion and product photographer located in Brantford, Ontario providing photography and creative imaging services to businesses and other clients in the Greater Toronto – Hamilton Area.