Our Favorite Moments From Photoville

Our Favorite Moments From Photoville

If you’re a photographer in the NYC area, you know that swinging by Photoville is a must. We love heading out to Brooklyn Bridge Park every September to see the exhibitions and our Photoville friends—the backdrop of the NYC skyline doesn’t hurt either.

For the fourth year in a row, we hosted a full day of talks as part of our Luminance Professional Development Series – all meant to get photographers thinking about their business and inspired about new projects. Check out some of our favorite moments below. 

From Personal Projects to Paid Projects


To start the day, Alison Zavos, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Feature Shoot, moderated a discussion with three photographers, Shaniqwa JarvisMichael Rubenstein and Michael George who have gotten unexpected but high-profile jobs directly from the work they put in on personal projects.

Marketing Your Photography


VP of Marketing at PhotoShelter Amy Fitzgibbons and photographer Akhil Sesh have marketing down. They shared their do’s and don’ts for photographers—Amy spoke about the traditional “old school” side of things and Akhil had advice about “new school” methods and social media.

“There’s no success without a plan.” – Amy Fitzgibbons, VP of Marketing, PhotoShelter

“You need to be able to target and know who you are pitching to really well. It seems simple, but do your research. Buy their magazines, follow them on social media.” – Amy Fitzgibbons, VP of Marketing, PhotoShelter

“Say ‘thank you’. A handwritten thank you note goes a long way. It’s also a way to promote your work. So few people do it now, that it will stand out.” – Amy Fitzgibbons, VP of Marketing, PhotoShelter

“I am only as good as my worst photo. Post only your best.” – Akhil Sesh, Photographer

“The main thing about social media is you get out what you put in. Post as often as you can. Reply with thoughtful comments. Initiate conversation.” – Akhil Sesh, Photographer

“We’re talking about social media but these are really just tools to build relationships.” – Akhil Sesh, Photographer

An Exclusive Conversation with Donna Ferrato and Paul Moakley


Photojournalist Donna Ferrato has spent decades documenting women and domestic violence. She sat down with Paul Moakley, Deputy Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise at TIME Magazine for an intimate conversation about these issues and to talk about her work.

“Things are published instantaneously, now. Take a couple years, dedicate yourself to where you become an expert of the story so it has depth.” – Donna Ferrato, Photographer

“My guiding light has always been to go after what really interests me—not to seek out famous photographers or try to work on big projects.” – Donna Ferrato, Photographer

“I take my camera everywhere. Sometimes people get uncomfortable, and I like that.
I say, ‘What do you mean ‘don’t take my picture’’? I’m not afraid of people anywhere, ever, at all.” – Donna Ferrato, Photographer

“A woman with a camera can be very dangerous in society.” – Donna Ferrato, Photographer

“Taking a picture—that’s just the first step. How do we keep going? How do we make sense of what we are seeing?” – Donna Ferrato, Photographer

What Buyers Really Want From Photographers


Visual media matters to brands now more than ever. This panel of photo agents, editors and directors moderated by Clinton Cargill, Director of Photography, Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Pursuits, gave a behind-the-scenes look at how they find and choose photographers and how they use photos in their stories and campaigns.

“It’s important for a photographer to understand who they are. I need something to communicate X. Who’s going to be the best for that job?” Randall Smith, Associate Director of Marketing and Advertising, Procter & Gamble

“We have a team of people who are always, always looking for photographers. We look at Instagram because it’s always fresh, and photographers are updating their website less and less. Keren Sachs, Director of Content Development, Shutterstock

“I don’t hire for singles, I want to know that a photographer can tell a story.” Dustin Drankoski, Photo Director, Mashable

“I would think about yourself as a brand. Establish that, and I think you will make yourself much more marketable.” Randall Smith, Associate Director of Marketing and Advertising, Procter & Gamble

“Even though you can shoot a lot of things, you know what you’re really good at. If it sings off the page, that’s what’s good.” Chris Ehrmann, Owner & Managing Agent, Goldteeth & Co.

Taxes and Finances: All You Need to Know


Certified Public Accountant Steven Zelin, also known as The Singing CPA sat down with PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman for tons of tips about financial planning and taxes for photographers—everything from the smartest insurance for your gear to easy apps that keep track of all your business expenses.

“There’s no right way to keep track of your expenses, but it’s to your advantage to use the software and apps available.” – Steven Zelin, Certified Public Accountant

“Even if you haven’t made a profit, if you have the intent to, you can declare a business.” – Steven Zelin, Certified Public Accountant

“Allocate your cash to three buckets: short term 1-5 years, long term 5+, immediate bucket.” – Steven Zelin, Certified Public Accountant

The Photo Editor and Photographer Bond: A Peek Behind the Curtain


In the last panel of the day, we got an exclusive look at the long-term relationships National Geographic Director of Photography Sarah Leen has with two of the photographers she’s worked with—David Guttenfelder and Erika Larsen. David and Erika gave insight into the extensive process and how closely they work with Sarah to craft a final story for National Geographic.

“A doorway to start working with NatGeo is to have some amazing project that you are already working on.” – Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine

“I really have to think about what it is I want to say with a project—the writing, the edit, the people involved. When the editor picks photos, I see it through new eyes.” – Erika Larsen, Photographer

“As the editor I have a lot of jobs: mom, psychologist, pushing them forward. There’s an umbilical cord—what the photographer feels, I feel.” – Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine

“When you look at an entire take, it’s very scary for a photographer. You’re looking at all of their misses. It’s a lot of trust involved but you can also see from their eyes. You see what they see and what they decide to focus on.” – Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine

“I thought I knew what I was doing with my career and [going from the Associated Press to National Geographic] changed my whole perspective. I had never looked at photos with an editor and had that relationship before. – David Guttenfelder, Photographer



As always, thank you to the folks at Photoville! Make sure you add this event to your calendar for next year!


All photos taken by Ciera Battleston.

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