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Assignment Info 2009

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In keeping with the Nikon/Calumet Roadshow in 2008-2009 we want to do more than just talk at you. We'd also like to try and give you a taste of the commercial world via a timed assignment. There are a few differences to last year's challenge, but the essence remains the same. The idea is still to produce pictures to a commercial brief (which you'll only be given on the day) to a strict time limit, but this year we want to throw some business studies into the mix too. So, here's how it will work.

Right now, this minute, if you're likely to be doing the challenge, start thinking about the market you want to shoot for. This could be the magazine market, advertising, the social market, design agencies - anything that is considered commercial and is going to earn you some cash will be considered fair game. Now start researching this market. What are the average day rates? How much is allowable in expenses? What sort of use are the images going to be put to? Who commissions the work? Ask lots of these sort of questions, and more importantly, try and get some fairly accurate answers.

There are some suggestions of markets to start with here, here, here, and finally here. At this stage, even though you don't know what the exact subject matter is, you can still do some preliminary planning. Think about potential locations, models you may be able to coerce, props you may have to hand, equipment you'll need and so on. Then download and print out the invoice and think about what you'll be filling in the blanks with on the day.

On the day itself, I'll be giving all sorts of useful and relevant information on markets, licensing and invoicing in the talk, so pay attention. After I've finished my little talk, a group of students (usually picked by the lecturers, but pester them if you want to get involved) of anywhere between 5 and 20, will stay behind, and we'll tell you which 5 subjects you can choose from. Each of these will offer a very great range of interpretations, and can be shot for almost any market. Pick a subject, grab your camera and a copy of the invoice, and get started, as the clock is ticking.

Some Basics:

  1. We need between 4 and 10 images. Please don't hand us hundreds, as we've lots of people to get through. The format, presentation, and finish of these will be dependant on the market you have picked to work in. For example we might expect to see images shot for use as a double-page-spread for a magazine market, or high-key black and white images for a social market.
  2. You can work in groups if you feel more comfortable that way, but no more than 3 to a group please.
  3. You will be given the choice of subject matter at approximately 12 O'Clock. You will have to hand in the shots and your completed invoice at 3pm - no later. We have been known to sit waiting with the speaking clock on loudspeaker, just to drive home what time it is!
  4. Do not be tempted to guess the subject matter in advance, and go and shoot something before the event. The entire aim of this exercise is to make you work under pressure, not to find out what the best work you can possibly produce is if you're given enough time and resources.
  5. Given the time restraints, we need the work handed in digitally, and for convenience we insist on jpegs. Straight out of the camera is fine, but please rename them with your own name. Info on how to do this is here, near the bottom of the post.
  6. Please bear in mind that you will need to spend some time on the computer editing and renaming your images, as well as filling in your invoice. Do not aim to stop shooting at 2.55pm.
  7. After the hand in we'll need approximately 20 minutes to go over the images ourselves - you can go off and grab a well-earned cup of tea at this point. We'll let you back in at about 3.20pm.
  8. Then we'll assess both the images and your invoices with the group. If you'd rather we didn't go through your stuff in front of everyone just say so.
Some Useful Info:

Brief Guide to Markets -
1, 2, 3, and 4. I'd start here if I were you.
The Absolute Basics of Copyright and Licensing - Essential info, both for the assignment and your future career.
Brief Introductory Guide to Business Studies - on photosmudger. Also available as a PDF.
Brief Introduction to Production (that's organising stuff, usually in a hurry) - on photosmudger.


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