DEADLINE EXTENDED: Win a Think Tank Photo bag from dvafoto – Deadline April 6, 2012

UPDATE: The deadline for the dvafoto / Think Tank Photo contest has been extended by one week, to April 6, 2012. See note below.

We’re proud to announce a dvafoto contest in partnership with Think Tank Photo. They’ve donated a Retrospective 5 bag for us to give away to friends and fans of dvafoto. We’ve got the bag in hand, and if we weren’t giving it away, it would be going out on assignment with one of us. It’s small, doesn’t look like a camera bag, and has a ton of neat features (extra pockets, customizable dividers, great strap, a special velcro-less silent mode, and on and on). It’s a great bag, and now there’s a chance for you to get one free.

Think Tank Photo - Retrospective 5

We thought this presented a great opportunity to start a discussion about powerful imagery, similar to our recent post about the most powerful photography as chosen by Reddit users. We want to hear about which photograph you would nominate the most powerful picture you know and to give away a great camera bag to one lucky person who has answered our question. We will randomly draw a name from all the entries and discuss submissions in a future post on dvafoto.

For all the information you need about entering this contest and to see which images both Matt and Scott chose to nominate themselves, visit the contest page at

The deadline is March 30, 2012 DEADLINE EXTENDED to April 6, 2012

We’re looking forward to seeing your entries!

NOTE: We apologize to all the folks who have submitted wonderful entries over the past two weeks and respected the original deadline, but both Matt and Scott have been busy on assignments this past week and have not had a chance to view all the entries and promote the contest widely. We look forward to seeing more submissions in the next week and to share the images and discussion this contest has generated in the coming weeks. Thanks!

Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo

The Making of “Magnum Contact Sheets” by Thames & Hudson

Magnum Contact Sheets is a forthcoming October 2011 release by Thames & Hudson, the publisher responsible for a number of other classic Magnum books like Magnum Magnum and Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Man, The Image & The World (both of which are on my shelf). This book, four years in the making, features film contact sheets from Magnum photographers and “each photographer (or representative of an estate) has written a commentary on the assignment, how the photographs were taken, what happened at the time and what followed.”

Thames & Hudson have been running a feature on their blog called Life Cycle of a Book: Magnum Contact Sheets about the process of commissioning, editing, designing and publishing (more posts are promised) such a large important photography book. It offers a nice and detailed behind-the-scenes look into the huge process, time and number of steps required to put together such a juicy project. Design Director Johanna Neurath wrote about how the “dream project” came to be:

We all (the designers that is) got very excited when we saw the gorgeously graphic smudgey brightly coloured marks of the chinagraph pencils on the sheets. And the orderly little round stickers on some of the sheets, stuck just so, and those beautifully expressive felt-tip pen scribbles and stars and exclamation marks… All these things gave away clues to the personality of each photographer. We knew that somehow we wanted to make the most of this. (from the post Magnum Contact Sheets: Design #1)

I’m very excited to see the final book, though I am a bit wary of the marketing description on Thames & Hudson’s page for Magnum Contact Sheets: “Contact sheets tell the truth behind a photograph. They unveil its process, and provide its back story. Was it the outcome of what a photographer had in mind from the outset? Did it emerge from a diligently worked sequence, or was the right shot down to pure serendipity – a matter of being in the right place at the right time?”

Maybe not exactly true, but the sentiment it is pretty close to why most of us love looking at each others’ contact sheets. Who doesn’t want to see the roll (look above!) that produced Trent Parke’s cover photograph for his book Dream/Life?

For more behind-the-scenes bookmaking awesomeness check out our recent interview with Donald Weber about his new book Interrogations.

How I Use PhotoShelter

Sign up with PhotoShelter

I’ve been an avid and active member of PhotoShelter since 2005, when I first set out from Seattle and began my career as a freelance photographer. Since those early days the system has been developed and so has my workflow and understanding of how to get the most out of the service. Today, I run both my archive and my portfolio website through a custom PhotoShelter site and do even more work on the backend for clients. I even use the keyword searches to find my own images when fulfilling stock requests and research, as opposed to digging through my own drives. It functions both as an archive for other people to look through my back catalog, but also for myself to keep organized.

PhotoShelter is currently running a promotion, until July 4, where if you decide to keep your PhotoShelter site during the 14-day $1 trial you will get a $10 account credit: a free month of the basic-level account. Click the banner ad at the top of this post or in the sidebar to sign up for PhotoShelter and help support Dvafoto.

I have two recent examples of turns in my business that I could not have pulled off without PhotoShelter: after six days on assignment for the Ratko Mladic story I had an archive of work that I wanted to syndicate, so I uploaded it to PhotoShelter and published a web gallery. I then mentioned on twitter that my pictures were in my archive and available to view (and re-license). Immediately, friends and strangers re-tweeted to their followers the link and I had a stream of viewers, all eager to see an extended edit of the work I had been doing. These are images that until the hours before had only been sitting on my and my editors’ desktops. Now the people who want to buy my work will know exactly where to find them.

Second, I was back in the States in April to attend my best friend’s wedding in Chicago. I agreed to shoot informal pictures of the ceremony and reception (balancing a cocktail and a camera, I was still a guest!), but after it was done we were struggling for a way to distribute these pictures to everyone who was at the wedding and who might want a print. I figured out the easiest solution was to upload all of the images to PhotoShelter, have the family edit the images in a lightbox, and make a gallery semi-public (only those with a direct link could access) for my friends to email to all the guests. I also set up through PhotoShelter a direct-printing service for guests to order prints and have it fulfilled by one of PhotoShelter’s partner print houses. Everything was done through PhotoShelter, within my own archive and tried and true workflow. It is exciting to offer something unusual for me: wedding pictures printed on-demand.

I could write pages on the different resources PhotoShelter has given photographers in recent years, like built-in pricing calculators; statistics on sales, views, signups and SEO; and regular special reports and web seminars on topics such as Email Marketing for Photographers, a Photo Buyer Survey and a SEO Cookbook. PhotoShelter are also active in promoting member photographers on their website and blog, which can bring quite a few viewers and buyers to your archive. For example, an image I photographed in 2005 was selected for a rotating best-of gallery inside PhotoShelter right after I uploaded it to my archive. It is still my most-viewed image.

But more than anything, I just wanted to share a little bit about why PhotoShelter has been integral to my work as a photographer, especially as a photographer without my own studio or large office space in the States. I am able to accomplish a lot more with their services and, knowing our readership, I figure that if you are not currently using PhotoShelter, you should start now. Sign up here for a $1 trial of the service, and dvafoto will get a small share of your membership fee.

This post is part of a trial sponsorship deal with PhotoShelter. We need to keep the lights on here, and we also don’t want to turn into a marketing mouthpiece and we aren’t looking for charity. Both Matt and Scott depend on PhotoShelter and we think it would be helpful to our readers. We wouldn’t go into a sponsorship arrangement with a company we don’t believe in. And, if you sign up for PhotoShelter by clicking through this link, dvafoto will get a small portion of your membership fee. That money will go toward the hosting costs of this site. We think it’s a great deal: you get started with the best way to organize and sell your pictures online, we get to tell people about a company that’s doing good work for photographers, and PhotoShelter gives us a little money to keep doing what we do.