Tag Archives: career

Pressing A Button Is Not Photography

I went to see Salvador in the cinema, in 1986 or 87.


If you haven’t seen it, it’s about photojournalists covering the civil war in Salvador. Highly recommend you watch it! Also, there’s a spoiler coming up, so if you’re going to see it, stop reading, now and return once you’ve seen the film!!

In the film, the main protagonist is a photojournalist played by James Woods. As he’s trying to leave El Salvador to get back to the States, he’s stopped at a check point and roughed up. He was trying to smuggle out films of the civil war and these ‘soldiers’ find the films and rip out the film from the cassette, ruining the pictures.

As this happens, I jumped out of my seat and screamed out ‘NO’! To say my friends were shocked (all non photographers) and the audience most concerned, would be an understatement. My eyes were filled with tears and my heart was pounding. I had been a hobbyist photographer for around two years and this was roughly two years before I started working as a photojournalist. Having dedicated every penny to buying film and every spare minute to reading about and looking at great photography, already brought a deep association with important, quality work.

As photographers, we have a very deep connection to our work. It’s part of us. Its not a job.

The Less Than Thoughtful Client

I had a client a year or two ago, really trying to low ball some work and massively over play the usage, well above the license agreed and paid for. The response during the ensuing discussions, was “its nothing personal, its just work”!

I’ve had clients, trying to con me into giving away copyright, accept very low pay for it, with the almost definite lies of more work in the future (Which never appears. A cheap or dishonest client never steps up and each time one of us accepts such a deal, it affects everyone else after us and for us, the client will never return. The entire industry takes another step towards ruin). Unprofessionalism and dishonesty, never right themselves. Every time we give in, we encourage and enforce this behaviour as being acceptable.

So the concept of a truly passionate, dedicated creative professional looking at their calling in life, be it photography, film making, music, poetry, writing and so on, being ‘just a job’, goes to show extreme ignorance in understanding what we do, how we think and how we are.

Long term partnerships nurture amazing work, which in turn makes the person booking the creative work look great and retain their client or job. Happy boss / client, happy middle person and happy creative.

The sad fact that more and more, only cutting corners seems to matter, even be a priority and quality of work is no longer an issue for these types of people, means that society’s appreciation of quality is diminishing. Quality and thought can be in a great advert. It can be an Instagram campaign. A Facebook sponsored post. A point of sale poster in a shop. The client pays, the middle person takes the biggest cut, the actual creative making the work, gets cheated.

A few years ago, I had a huge multi-national company trying to get me to work for free, as they felt paying for my vision, creativity, experience, time and skill, would pollute the purity of the work and this brand only wanted to work with truly passionate people who believe in the brand. My response to this person was in the form of a compliment; praising that they seemed extremely passionate and dedicated, so I was certain they must be working for free. Needless to say, this was met with astonished silence.

Just because someone can push a button and accepts being conned, does not make them a pianist, a writer or a photographer. No one who truly cares for their work, will disrespect their own creation and devalue it.

Some Advice For Young Photographers

If you’re new to the world of photography, my first piece of advice is to research and never agree to a fee or license on the spot. Most dishonest clients will try the line that they’re right up against the deadline etc. This is a pressurising technique. Promise of more work as there’s a low budget, is also a trick. When faced with such things, I always promise to do an amazing deal on the fifth booking. This type of client never comes back for a second booking, let alone a fifth, as they are purely out to take advantage.

As for rates and what to charge, there are various licensing calculators, like fotoQuote or the AOP’s online usage calculator. These are complied from prices paid, for similar work and an agreement between clients and photographers. These are industry standard rates. You can use these as a basis to either quote directly from, or to negotiate near to figures. If your skill and work is unique, you can negotiate upwards, for example. There are also several photographer’s groups online, where advice can be garnered before making an agreement.

Copyright. This is yours by law. Its not the client’s. If a client wants a buyout, this can be arranged and negotiated. Never give this away for free. Ever.

Value your work and that of the industry.

Love Your Job Print, Edition Of 25 Released

One of my favourite street photographs, is now available as an edition of 25. Even before publicising the edition, 3 prints have already been sold, so at the time of writing, there are 22 prints left. Perhaps the perfect Christmas treat or gift?

A heavy downpour of rain soaks a businessman, as he passes an illuminated advertising sign stating “Love Your Job”. Hammersmith, London. January 14, 2011. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The edition is an archival Giclée, gallery quality print. The photograph is printed on A3 (approx 11-3/4” x 16-1/2” or 297mm x 420mm) with a white border, on Hahnemüehle Photo Rag Bright White. 310 gsm on 100% cotton art paper. Signed on the back, name on the front left, edition numbered on the front, along with my embossing on the right side. Each print will also come with a certificate of authenticity.

The price of each print is £400 (which includes VAT) plus shipping. Each print will be shipped in a sturdy tube. As the edition gets sold out, it’s customary for the price to rise near the end of the edition, so it’s wiser to invest earlier on. Please contact me via the Contact page to make arrangements.

For me, the image perfectly encapsulates modern life in the city. The duality of striving for happiness and survival, with far too many working in jobs they don’t love, to make ends meet. That constant struggle.

The image was made as I was running to the car park. As soon as I saw the light from the advertising hoarding, it made me stop. The way it was lighting the rain and the wet pavement caught my eye. It was only a moment later that I read the message. The problem though, was that the digital advertising was a constant slideshow. None of the other adverts were as bright or simple; they were in fact colourful and messy, and as a light source didn’t work as they were much dimmer.

I must have waited for around 20 minutes. Suddenly from the right hand side, a businessman in a raincoat, holding a briefcase, rushed past. It was so quick, I managed to shoot two frames on my Leica. As luck would have it, the timing of the businessman coincided with the “Love Your Job” slide showing on the advertising board.

I love my job 😉

The photograph has been recognised by various awards and curators over the years, including being a runner-up in the Driven Creativity shortlist and exhibited in London, Paris & Berlin. It was a finalist in Travel Photographer Of The Year too. It was exhibited in The Press Photographers’ Year in the National Theatre, as well as the Fleet Street Photo Exhibition in London. It was commended by the judges of the Fotoura International Street Photography Awards as well as used as a double page spread in AP Magazine’s ‘Tribute To Leica’ issue. It also won the Life At Work category of the British Life Photography Awards. It was judged as Professional Photographer of the Year’s winner in the Street Photography category. It also made The Huffington Post Pictures of the Year in 2011.

To purchase your print, please use the CONTACT page to get in touch.

Photo Insight; Amateur Photographer magazine, July 2014.
Quote

Talking Shot Photography Podcast

Lovely to have been invited for a nice chat with the fabulous Ross Grieve and Matt Jacobs on their popular Talking Shot Podcast.

We chatted about the COVID 19 lockdown, how I started out as a photographer, my career, inspirations, philosophies on journalism and even a little about the equipment I use. Hope you enjoy the conversation.

World Photo Day 2016

The 30th Anniversary Of My First SLR; The Start Of My Journey In Photography

Today is World Photo Day. Strangely, I didn’t have any assignments on and didn’t really shoot any pictures. I photographed the full moon as I got home, but the day was one of meetings and not of actual photography.

Edmond Terakopian-1990-copy pic on-20160819-013

A photograph of me at work for the Wembley Observer in 1990. I started my career in 1989 on the Ealing Gazette and moved to the Harrow Observer and Wembley Observer the following year. Shooting with a Canon T90 (my third ever SLR) and Metz 45 flashgun with bounce card. © Photo.

It is however the perfect day to reflect back on my photographic career, and specifically on how it all started. I’d always been interested in taking pictures as a child; I guess I liked the click of the camera and the flash going off! So much so that although our family had a Kodak, my Godfather bought me my own camera for my seventh or eight birthday; a Fuji 110 cartridge point and shoot.

As I got into my teens, I really began taking an interest in photographs and photography. The older brother of a friend of mine was a very keen, advanced and creative amateur photographer. I would often chat with him when visiting, look at his cameras and look at his latest pictures and bombard him with questions about technique, composition, camera gear and so on. He was always very patient and I guess could see my deep interest, so would answer all my silly questions and let me play with his (and his father’s) lovely array of Nikon cameras.

In 1986, as I was approaching my 16th birthday, I had saved up my pocket money and would scour the pages of the Argos catalogue, looking at Zenit and Praktica cameras, day dreaming that one day I would have my own real camera! An SLR that I could manually focus and choose the exposure settings as I wanted them.

I mentioned to my self appointed mentor that I was getting ready to pop to Argos and buy A Zenit or Praktica. He suggested I hold off, asked me how much I had saved and told me he’d get back to me. Unbelievable, he had spent the next few days looking through various magazines and had found a special deal on a Nikon which fitted my meagre savings. We met, my pocket full of my cash, got on the tube and made our way to the Tecno on High Street Kensington. Miraculously they had a special offer on the Nikon EM, with a 50mm Nikon E Series lens, a filter, lens hood and I think camera case too.

So, I bought my first camera. A Nikon no less, all thanks to my mentor, who helped me set up the camera, and answered the inevitable questions which followed my weeks of joyous discovery.

Dearest Vahe, I dedicate this post to you. 30 years ago you took this 15 year old and put him on a path which has brought him joy every since. As a result, I’ve really learned about life, through my lens. Met the most interesting people, experienced extremes of sorrow and joy, creation and destruction, with my camera and helped share the plight of people with millions around the planet. You were my first influence and a huge influence. You showed me creativity. You taught me photography and technique and when you were under no obligation to do so, answered my hundreds of questions and found me my first proper camera.

Thank you so much 🙂

Olympus Magazine Interview – May 2015

10 Page Interview

Olympus Magazine May 2015 Front

Thrilled to share that this month’s Olympus Magazine has a 10 page interview with me about my photography and video work.

You can get your free online copy HERE.

Alternatively, you can download a PDF of just the 10 page interview HERE.

Photoshoot with model Jordan Ebbitt. London. April 10, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

A portrait of Jordan Ebbitt. London. April 10, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Tips On How Not To Annoy Professional Photographers

Things To Avoid

L-R: Edmond Terakopian and Ian Berry having a chat about all things photographic London.  January 22, 2015. Photo: Neil Buchan-Grant

L-R: Edmond Terakopian and Ian Berry having a chat about all things photographic. London. January 22, 2015. Photo: Neil Buchan-Grant

1- Do not say “Great capture”. So annoying. Calling it a good photograph, shot or picture is all that’s needed.

2- Do not say “wow, I bet you get really nice pictures with that camera”. The camera doesn’t make the photographs; the photographer does. It’s just like you wouldn’t compliment a writer on their choice of word processor or a chef on their choice of pan.

3- Do not say things like “nice bokeh”! It’s not a compliment to make a comment on the out of focus areas on a picture; probably better to concentrate on the actual subject in the picture. If you really like how the lens renders out of focus detail (bokeh) write to the manufacturer and lens designer. They designed it and so, deserve your praise.

4- “I could’ve done that if I was there”. Well, being there at the right time is half the skill; then it’s making it happen in camera. Trust me, it’s not that easy when everything’s going down.

…perhaps most importantly:

5- Respect your copyright and don’t give away your pictures for free (or for ridiculously low pay. Remember, if it’s worth publishing, it’s worth paying for). You’re ruining an entire industry when you do this. Imagine if in your line of work a hobbyist turned up and started working for free. You would soon not have a job.

Feel free to add to this list in the comments below and please do share this post around 🙂 Thanks.

Edmond Terakopian at the new Wembley Stadium, covering the first football game after it's opening. Photo: Stuart Emmerson

Edmond Terakopian at the new Wembley Stadium, covering the first football game after its opening. Photo: Stuart Emmerson