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Photo Challenge Winner: Torrie Cooney "Facetime with Daddy"

© Copyright Torrie Cooney

With so many terrific images in our recent forum challenge, it was tricky to pick just one winner. There was a shot however, that told a story so well that we are proud to congratulate Torrie Cooney for her shot "Facetime with Daddy".

Please join me in congratulating Torrie. We will be sending six excellent photography books from the NYIP library for her prize!

Also, this image along with nine others (who were already contacted) will appear in a worldwide contest on Facebook, which is being co-sponsored by the New York Institute of Photography, Ashworth College, and Fort Benning, GA. Facebook users all over the world will be able to vote for their favorites. We will provide the link once it's available.  


The New York Institute of Photography is proud to offer members of the military, their spouses, and veterans the ability to save money on our photography courses under a number of government programs. Details here.


Photo Marketing 101: Intro to Marketing Yourself as a Photographer

As if by some form of blog magic, I’ve landed here with an opportunity to share all of my knowledge about marketing with you.  As the Director of Marketing for the New York Institute of Photography, I’ve seen it all.  I’ve seen photographers who have amazing websites and some who have less than stellar websites.  I’ve even seen some with no website at all.

In today’s world, whatever your experience level, some sort of online presence is essential to success.  That rule holds true for business ventures of any kind.  And photographers looking to make money with their photography should learn to treat themselves as a brand, or business.  Sure you’re an artist, but if you want to make a living, you’re also a businessperson.

I’ve been invited to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along with way with you, and will continue to do so until we’re all millionaires (I wish).

Lesson 1 is simple: Think of yourself as a brand.

Marketing has a tendency to take on an ugly connotation with some people, conjuring up images of sneaky advertising or annoying salesman.  But what marketing is, for our sake, is the simple act of building a brand, promoting your work, and attracting the attention of potential customers.

Any good business starts with a plan, or strategy. What is the name of your business?  Is it your name? Your studios name?  Whatever it is, that’s where you start.  That is your brand.  And in future editions of this Photo Marketing 101 blog series, we will explore how to build around that brand, and expand the reach of your brand to attract attention.

Homework: Your assignment, should you choose to accept, is to brand yourself.  Name your photography business.  And share that name with us in the comments below.



Download the Free NYIP Android App 

As promised, the NYIP Android app is now available for download. Get it free here! 



We also have the NYIP iPhone/iPad app for IOS users here.



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NYIP Contest Watch

NYIP's Contest Watch provides information on international, national and regional photo contests that you might want to enter. Here are the lastest photography contests to check out:

Digital Camera Magazine Photographer of the Year 2011

Digital Camera Magazine, one of the UK's leading photography publications, is holding their annual photo contest in conjunction with the Royal Photographic Society. There are ten categories you can enter including Action and Movement, Creative License, Documentary, Fashion, Gardens and Plants,Travel, Landscape, Portrait and more. Prizes in each category include £1,500 plus a one-year subscription to Digital Camera magazine, and the overall winner of the Photographer of the Year title will take home an additional prize worth £1,000. There's a  £10 entry fee which allows you to submit up to 50 images and the deadline to enter is September 30, 2011.


Smithsonian Magazine's 9th Annual Photography Contest

There are five categories you can enter in this year's Smithsonian Magazine's photography competition: Altered Images, Americana, the Natural World, People and Travel. Winning images will be printed in Smithsonian magazine, will be exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution and winners will also receive cash prizes. The Grand Prize winner will receive a Smithsonian Journeys trip to Yosemite National Park as well. There's plenty of time for you to gather your best images to enter — you have until December 1, 2011 — but keep in mind that competition will be fierce. Smithsonian says they are looking for images with high "technical quality, clarity and composition, but also a flair for the unexpected and the ability to capture a picture-perfect moment."
The National Wildlife Federation is holding their annual photography contest. New this year, you can share your entries online with friends and family, view all entries and vote online for the People's Choice Award. There's $20,000 worth of prizes including cash, iPads and more. This year the contest includes 3 different levels of competition: Professional, Amatuer and Youth (children 13-17 years old.) Categories you can enter include Baby Animals, Backyard Habitats, Birds, Connecting People and Nature, Landscapes and Plant Life, Mammals and Other Wildlife. There are strict requirements as to what kind of images you can enter so make sure you read the rules carefully. The deadline is July 14, 2011.
For tips on how to enter and win photo contests, check out's Contest Tip Collection.


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REVIEW: Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera


Funny how you can go along never wondering about something, and then when you’re told how it was done, you slap your forehead in recognition---of course!

That’s what happened when I saw the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Like many people of my generation, especially Americans, I grew up knowing that Norman Rockwell painted elaborately realistic portraits of people in stereotypical American scenes: two kids at a soda fountain, men in a barbershop. They had an old-timey feel, as if the artist had captured a time somewhat before mine, a time when housewifely women cooked steaks for the hard-working husbands, truck drivers puffed on cigars, little boys consulted with friendly cops while taking a break from running away from home.

Never once did I consider how Rockwell achieved that exquisite level of detail that makes his work so distinctive, and so immediately identifiable.

The moment my palm slapped my forehead was when I went into the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, and saw the photographs from which Rockwell worked. Only then did I really understand the thing that marks Rockwell’s paintings as distinctly his own: he wasn’t painting from life, but was painting from photographs. And that is where his genius lay; Rockwell was able to take this relatively new technique of photography and use its a tool for creating a new style of painting.


The exhibit illustrates Rockwell’s method by displaying the original photographs beside the paintings made from them.

In the photographs, we can see how Rockwell labored over creating each scene before the shoot. He was director, set-designer, and sometime prop constructor, but he had photographers doing the actual photography; and so, the show at the Brooklyn Museum is not only an exhibit of Rockwell’s work, but also of the work of his photographers: Gene Pelham, Bill Scovill, and Louie Lamone.  The first shot in the show is a delightful, almost whimsical portrait of Rockwell taken by Bill Scovill, which seems to express all of Rockwell’s joy at his work.

And yet, the show opens with an arresting photograph by Rockwell: a full-color, large-format, back-lit shot taken in 1957 for Eastman Kodak, which was displayed at 18 x 60 feet Grand Central Terminal, and was claimed to be the world’s largest color transparency at the time.

The subject of the photo is typical narrative Rockwell: a 1950s family closing up a summer cottage. The back-lighting makes the colors appear saturated, the glint of late-summer sun on the red boat strapped to the woody’s roof taking the focus of both the camera and the viewer’s eye. There is so much going on in this one photo that it’s hard to look away.

By revealing the behind-the-scenes production, the exhibit shows the viewer that the narrative aspect of Rockwell’s work is anything but coincidental. For The Runway, one of Rockwell’s most iconic paintings, there are 12 shots, some without the counterman, some with the cop wearing his jacket. It’s clear that Rockwell couldn’t have tried out so many variations if he hadn’t worked with photography---even a series of sketches wouldn’t have afforded him the same flexibility along with realistic detail.

Although Rockwell was what we would now call an “early adopter” of technology, his relationship with the advances of his time wasn’t always easy. He used a Balopticon Projector, similar to today’s opaque projector, but he said it was “an evil, inartistic, habit-forming, lazy, and vicious machine,” adding, however, that it was “useful, time-saving, practical, and helpful.

“I use one often—and am thoroughly ashamed of it. I hide it whenever I hear people coming,” he said.

 Rockwell was similarly disdainful of the very photography that allowed him to do his unique work, calling it “cheating, a dishonorable crutch for lazy draftsmen, a betrayal of artistic principles.”

And yet, it allowed him to create the paintings that best expressed his artistic ability. By using black and white photographs, Rockwell was able to concentrate on developing his own distinctive color palette, and to bring expressive life to his characters, earning him the moniker, “The Kid With The Camera Eye.”

The exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum shows us the man behind the curtain; the mechanics of creating the paintings. For example, in the photos used for Day in the Life of a Little Girl, we see the hands of assistants holding the young model’s braids back, as if the wind is blowing them, to add to the effect of motion in the final painting. When a character is to be painted walking, the model in the photograph will be standing on a short stacks of books so that he’ll have the posture of stepping.

By looking at the photographs next to the paintings, we can see Rockwell’s talent for exaggeration as well as his process, such as in “The Gossips,” “Dewey or Truman,” and “Soda Jerk.”   In “Soda Jerk,” for example, the models look more like regular teens, whereas in the painting the qualities that make them teens are clearly exaggerated.

The Norman Rockwell exhibit illustrates not only the work of a beloved American painter, but also shows us how curiosity and a willingness to try new methods can result in the ability to find one's own truest expression---and that's something well worth exploring.

Norman Rockwell, Behind the Camera is on view  until April 10, 2011

The Brooklyn Museum  




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