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Thread: Disagreement with art direction

  1. #1

    Default Disagreement with art direction

    Hi everyone,

    I've just been through 1 bad experience recently with a disagreement over art direction with the shoot organiser and wants to hear from you on what you think.

    Prior to the shoot, I have asked for a detailed brief on the objectives and expected outcome including details like number of models, clothing type, style / theme of shoot etc but all I get is 'we'll let you know later' or 'you don't worry, we will do the art direction'...

    Nevertheless, I went for a site recce few days before the shoot just to get a few ideas and was confident that the location was quite ideal for a wide range of themes and settings.

    However, on actual day itself, the shoot organiser still did not brief me even though I approached him to ask for the shoot requirements. He simply told me to stand at a certain spot and shoot the models against a dull backdrop and he wants full length, no close up and yet must capture the fashion label clearly. I shared with him my ideas and all I got was a blank look.

    In the end, I felt like I was shooting passport photos... it sucks... and it's a waste of my time

    Now, I have to pass him the photos next week and I'm not sure what kind of reactions I'll get. I won't even wanna list this shoot in my portfolio as it's so embarrassingly boring. I guess I'm just frustrated that my ideas were not even heard and that I know I can do a much better job if I'm allowed to control the shoot.

    What would you have done if you were in my shoes where you totally disagreed with the art direction with the same people who's paying you for the shoot? What would you do if the 'employer' then blame you for a poor and unimaginative shoot?


    Brand
    http://brandon.zenfolio.com/

  2. #2

    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    well if the client blames you for the pictures. you just have to tell him that it is him that requested for this angle and such.

    i kenna similar situation before. it was a pub event. asked the client what kind of pictures he wanted me to get. he just keep saying grp photo grp photo. so i "ignored" the events that happened on stage. as i was briefed earlier not to take stage events and to concentrate on grp photos of the people only.

    in the end upon delivery the client actually asked why i never shoot any stage scenes. upon explaination he still dun buy it and insist that he said nothing of that sorts.

    just making life difficult for people in our line.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    next time bring a voice recorder with you.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    Brand,

    The nature of commercial shoot is you just execute according to art director's prescription. I won't do a shoot unless Art director is there and after the shoot, I'll make him/her sign against the selected picture. We can suggest ideas, but end of the day, it's their call.

    As wanzw has mentioned, if she requested that angle, and she's happy with it, so be it. You just deliver the photo she wants, that's it, end of story. Last thing you want happening is a reshoot at your expense because of some whimsical art director.


    wanzw,

    For events, some coordinators or the person that you liase directly with does specify exactly what you must/should cover. Even if they don't give you, note it down like a check list, and it's your own check list as well. You can either get them to email you or you can formalise it in a job spec.

    At the end of the event, there shouldn't be any dispute if photos are missing, if you know what I'm saying.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    Quote Originally Posted by canturn View Post

    wanzw,

    For events, some coordinators or the person that you liase directly with does specify exactly what you must/should cover. Even if they don't give you, note it down like a check list, and it's your own check list as well. You can either get them to email you or you can formalise it in a job spec.

    At the end of the event, there shouldn't be any dispute if photos are missing, if you know what I'm saying.
    hi there, before the event i have already emailed them asking for what kind of styles to shoot or is that kind of "shoot-everything" kind of photography coverage. no reply and thus have to waited till actual day of event to find the person in charge and get things clear ASAP.

    they have provided me sort of a verbal checklist. and i have double checked with them to ensure that stage pictures are NOT required and agreed upon.

    then comes the delivery and all hell broke loose.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    Well that commerical work for you. I encounter endless of nonsense from so call "art director" or "fashion styler", but there good one as well who know what they want. I alway shoot what the client want and then I shoot something I know will turn out great. These way if the client still do not see your idea then you will still have a great portfolio piece. Sadly no matter how creative you are. There are production that need only simpler thing from us.

    The worst ones are the ones who tell you do the job and give you the creative decision because they have none. After you give them the stuff they tell you it not what they want.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    Have just handed over the photos over dinner earlier and they immediately took out a laptop (and not even placed our orders yet)...

    Didnt criticise much about those 'passport photos' but asked what i would have done differently.. %#%^@#

    Some people are just so thick..

    Think i got away this time.. *phew*

    Lesson to be learnt: I will never shoot without a proper detailed brief again and I will never shoot for someone who doesnt respect or even consider my ideas...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    But since you were told what to shoot on the day itself, how would you have said no?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    Quote Originally Posted by singscott View Post
    Well that commerical work for you. I encounter endless of nonsense from so call "art director" or "fashion styler", but there good one as well who know what they want. I alway shoot what the client want and then I shoot something I know will turn out great. These way if the client still do not see your idea then you will still have a great portfolio piece. Sadly no matter how creative you are. There are production that need only simpler thing from us.

    The worst ones are the ones who tell you do the job and give you the creative decision because they have none. After you give them the stuff they tell you it not what they want.

    really look out for those who give you "freedom" but then tell you they don't like it when delivery comes...make sure you outline what you want to do, make sure they understand the concept, and then make sure they sign off on the idea, by email if not in writing...

    the art director has to answer to the client so if he/she gives you direction, than if you don't follow, its the photog's fault if the results are not as expected...if the art director listens to your advice and think it's good and agrees, then good and fine, but on the other hand the art director might also have got explicitly stated ideas from the client so no choice but to follow those...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Brand View Post
    Have just handed over the photos over dinner earlier and they immediately took out a laptop (and not even placed our orders yet)...

    Didnt criticise much about those 'passport photos' but asked what i would have done differently.. %#%^@#

    Some people are just so thick..

    Think i got away this time.. *phew*

    Lesson to be learnt: I will never shoot without a proper detailed brief again and I will never shoot for someone who doesnt respect or even consider my ideas...
    Don't get so work up, you have already done your part by advising the client on how to improve the shoot.

    As in all business, it's a matter of manageing expectation. If a photographer is not given a " proper detailed brief ", it is up to the photographer to work something out and manage the client's expectations. The ability to manage the clients is what sets one photographer from another. Paid photography is a business and in business, unless you're proven to be better and more creative than the designer/art director/client, than you have to take the direction from them. Bear in mind that it is the art director/designer who sell the org. idea/concept to the client and who have to answer to his/her boss after you have pass the images to them.

    The best and only thing to do is to get them to approve the images as you shoot. That should not be too diff since we're shooting on digital. Better still if you have someone else around at that time.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Disagreement with art direction

    Quote Originally Posted by singscott View Post
    Well that commerical work for you. I encounter endless of nonsense from so call "art director" or "fashion styler", but there good one as well who know what they want. I alway shoot what the client want and then I shoot something I know will turn out great. These way if the client still do not see your idea then you will still have a great portfolio piece. Sadly no matter how creative you are. There are production that need only simpler thing from us.

    The worst ones are the ones who tell you do the job and give you the creative decision because they have none. After you give them the stuff they tell you it not what they want.
    Very true. Sad, but true. This is how the business works.

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