I wanted to bring up something that has been bothering me for quite some time now.
The differance between the Real Life Pulishing of our work, and what actually gets published in the magazines we see on the news stands.
I've been in the magazine business for 5 years now publishing a small entertainment magazine that covers the Entertainment/Bars/Nightlife in Southeastern Michigan. It's nothing too big, just a local monthly magazine that covers a bit of everything, but 90% of it is bar related.
I know a bit about marketing, advertising and the putting together of the ads that get businesses noticed. So I tend to look through any other magazine a bit differently than most of you do. I'm one of those guys that really looks at everything in each issue, especially the ads to see who is advertising in what magazine and how the ads are laid out.
Being as my whole life revolves around photography and travel, I tend to really study the ads in these types of magazines. I see what images are selling and how they're taken so they catch the readers eye. What I notice most is many of the images used in advertising doesnt catch the readers eye?
As most of you know, I try to keep up on this forum as well as a few other photography forums always looking to get my images that I post picked apart as much as possible so I can better my work.
Most of what I hear is "Straighten Your Horizons" "The image isnt tack sharp" or little things like that. I also submit a lot of my work to Istock and a few other stock photo agencies to try and suppliment this expensive hobby of mine anyway I can.
Istock is very hard to get images accepted for the littlest things like Sharpness, color, backgrounds and subject matter. Stock agencies are very frustrating because they pay almost next to nothing for your work, and the process of submitting them is very time consuming. I find myself doing this when I cant sleep at night and dont have anything else to do.
This is another thing that makes me look at advertisements in magazines as I know when our ad department for our magazine is putting together customer ads, if I dont have stock work for them to use, then we need to buy images from Istock ourselves.
What I'm getting at is....Lets take Outdoor Photographer as an example since this is their forum. Looking through the April 2008 issue, there are numerous ads, many of them being full page ads that probably cost the companies paying for the ads thousands of dollars. What kills me, is many of these ads arent good photography at all.
If I was to try and submit the images used in these ads to either a stock agency or post them on this forum for critique, they'd get denied from the stock agency, and my fellow photographers who I so love to have pick apart my images would shred them to pieces.
In one issue alone these are a few things that stood out to me.
Page 7 of the April issue - The Black & White Kodak ad advertising their Professional T-Max film is a very flat, boring image. I know if I tried to submit that to Istock, it would get denied. If I was to post that same image on here, most would tell me to do something to it to make it stand out more or have something that makes it a stronger image.
What was Kodak thinking when they paid good money for a boring ad like this?
Page 13 - Same Issue - This ad bothers me so much!! I see it in numerous publications, and except for the fact that the lighting is great and the subject is very cool, the image is so out of focus that I would get tore apart if I was to post it on here or try to submit it to any stock agency. That full page color ad cost the Florida Birding & Fotofest thousands of dollars in this issue alone, and they use it in almost every photo magazine on the newstand today.
Page 39 of the same issue - The photo used in the Sigma ad for the 18-200mm lens is just not that appealing! I know if I was contemplating buying that lens, that image wouldnt make me run out and buy it. I can hear Luca, Jim, Robin or Gordon all telling me "If only the subject in the foreground was better lit, it would make that image so much more appealing" Yet here it is being used by Sigma as a full page ad which they paid thousands for in this publication alone. I've seen the same ad in numerous photo magazines.
Page 49 - The ad for the Induro Carbon 8x tripod. The bottom of the leg, closest to the camera is cut off. This is something that gets mentioned in almost every photo posted on another forum I frequent. For some reason everyone hates it when any piece of the subject is cut out of the the image? Not that big of a deal, but again, this company paid thousands for an ad that I'd get shot down for.
Starting on Page 50, they have 7 pages on Macro Photography. Now these are some very good images, but nothing like any of Dalantech's work. I sat in a book store the other day flipping through a few Macro books, and no where did I see any work that rivaled his amazing images. I just cant figure out why I havent seen any of his work in any magazines yet?
Page 95, the ad for the Bear Camp in Alaska, the bear is OOF? WTF is that?
Page 97, the ad for Rocky Mountain School of Photography?? Why would I want to go to that school after looking at that image? What is that image of even? It too is OOF!
Page 101, the ad for Filterhouse, the mountain used in the ad is very flat and not all that sharp, what are they trying to sell with that ad?
This issue was surprisingly very good when it came to the ads and the images in the ads. Some magazines I can hardly believe the advertisers who are wasting their money when it comes to the poor images used and the way the ads are set up.
Maybe you think like my wife does, and just think I over-analize everything, but I get very frustrated when many very good photographers cant make a living out there, and you have companies wasting money on shoddy work that is getting them no where.
Ok, I just had to vent and get that off my chest