Paparrazzi is out of control say professional photographers

(Left - right) Giinevere Smith, APTV, Sam Mircovich, Reuters, Sara De Boer, photographer, Stewart Cook, Rex USA and Kathy Hutchins, Hutchins Photo.
(Left - right) Giinevere Smith, APTV, Sam Mircovich, Reuters, Sara De Boer, photographer, Stewart Cook, Rex USA and Kathy Hutchins, Hutchins Photo.

“It is out of control and we do not want people stealing our photos,” said Stewart Cook, photographer, Rex USA, at an Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) workshop recently (3-19-09). The event was sponsored by International Cinematographers Group Local 600 publicists, Hollywood

“We have watermarks, but once a magazine publishes our photos and posts it Online, we are

constantly finding people ripping it off,” said Kathy Hutchins, president, Hutchins Photo.

“Magazines still want beautiful pictures, but they also want something different,” said Sara De Boer, photographer, Retna, a photo service.

“It is an interesting time we are in, and it may take years before we learn what format is best to preserve or protect our photos Online,” said Sam Mircovich, editor-in-charge, Global Entertainment Pictures, Thomson Reuters News Pictures. Thomson Reuters is the world’s largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news and business news. It also provides entertainment images and stories from Hollywood Reporter often end up on Reuters Wire services.

“We are subscription based internationally, so when photos hit the wire, they hit thousands of AP members globally, instantly,” said Associated Press Television (APTV)’s Guinevere Smith, Natn’l Entertainment Photo-Ed. “We work with publicists to understand your needs, and we work with staff photographers on the editorial side as well as contributing freelance photographers. AP work to achieve your goals as well as our (breaking news).”

 The Associated Press covers half of the globe with a bureau in nearly every city in the World. AP is an international news organization offering news, photos, graphics, audio and video for 1,700 U.S. newspapers and 6,000 broadcast outlets around the world. There are more than 240 bureaus worldwide representing 121 countries. It features a massive digital network, a continuously updated online news service, a television news service and one of the largest radio networks in the United States.  

“The pictures illustrate the story, and we are much like AP, but offer a little different services, “ said Mircovich.  “Reuters like the Associated Press, is one of the oldest wire services in the world, and I think there is a constant battle over who is older AP or us. I think we started around 1853. Reuters News Pictures is part of a larger company called Thomson Reuters, because were purchase last year by a data provider Thomson out of Canada,” he said.

“Our clients are newspaper and Online customers, explained Mirovich. “We supply (content) to many of the websites you see on the Internet. But what sets us a part from AP is we also provide data services and news to professionals on a subscription basis. We have  products for the legal side, for medical and financial clients as well. The photographs and data are all packaged in the subscription through a web browser. Entertainment plays a big part, because we report on the movie studios and conglomerates. The pictures help illustrate these stories. So we are the same as AP, but a little more targeted and different,” said Mircovich.

“We are a photo agency specializing in entertainment, some news and our client base goes anywhere from subscriptions to magazine sales,” said Kathy Hutchins, president, Hutchins Photo, LA. Other professional services charge a fee to become member to protect their watermarked images. “Everything in entertainment can be found on our site, but once it gets into magazines it is hard to protect them,” said Hutchins.  “You have to be a member, and pay a fee, which is how we track who is using our photos, and we have disabled the downloading feature for nonmembers.”

“We are losing control of our photos and after they are published in magazines they get copied by bloggers and others Online,”  said Stewart Cook, Photographer, Rex USA, which is Britain’s largest privately-owned agency with offices in New York, LA and which has a network of 600 photographers around the world. It has owned by the Selby’s for 60 years. “We specialized in entertainment, but we are also strong in features that range from one-legged skate boarding jocks to features on the military in Iraq.  We are one of two agencies that syndicate for the Ministry of Defense. We supply web print and video much like everyone else with one of the largest libraries.”

“I used to have a large staff, but when everything changed to digital, it wasn’t  economically feasible to continue the model, so I am by myself now,” said Sara De Boer, Photographer, Retna, LA.

“So now I am syndicated domestically and also syndicate to Sunday editions (publications) worldwide. I provide photo services of events, parties and celebrities. I also do a fair amount of work with the soap opera stars, and I really enjoy that. I do as many red carpet events as I can, and I am one of the most affected by digital photography changes and significantly impacted by the paparazzi.” 

At least two of the panelist said that many of the paparazzi are hired by gangs for as little as a $100 a day to hang out and shoot pictures of a breaking news events or celebrites. 

All photo services, Associated Press, Reuters and especially the smaller operations like to be pitched for events by email. “99 percent of what I do is by email, and when I get a fax I think ‘hmm this isn’t global green is it,” said De Boer.

The photography professional services and wire photo services experts offer these tips for publicists: 

  • Do not use vinyl as a backdrop, because it reflects a lot of light
  • Be aware of your lighting, especially on red carpet events; one spotlight is not enough
  • Show up early with lesser know clients at events; they will shoot most everyone if time permit
  • Advise your clients to wear color, avoiding solid white or black outfits
  • Advise clients not to cross their legs when posting (fashion especially)
  • Remember flashes pierce sheer black
  • Go ahead of your client with a client name in large, bold type for ID
  • Stay out of the photos; mnay photogs are shooting long lenses down the carpet
  • Be aware when a “A” list star is approaching, step back. Resume when they have passed
  • Have a realistic space for press cleared; 12” per position is minimum, 18” is preferred
  • Be honest with tip sheets; photogs would rather have surprises than disappointments
  • Check-in time should be accurate, not an hour before you intend to check in
  • Communication if you are marking placement for photos in press area
  • All events are not equal; Photos will support small events if given access to the “good” ones
  • Avoid “set decoration” feeling; don’t change colors on various background be consistent
  • Put photogs first on a press line; flow is proven to be better
  • Keep Photo, TV and Print in separate areas; some TV-B-roll like to work behind photogs
  • Stanchions should be at least 7 feet from the backdrop; Risers should be 18” back and 12 ‘ high
  • Allow room under rises to store equipment, bags, etc
  • If you have no risers, say so on tip sheet as most photogs have step stools or ladders
  • Backdrops should be cloth, not glossy plaster; grey or blue works best
  • Be aware of who works for whom; avoid more than one photog per agency in limited space

To contact any of the professional photography services:

Stewart Cook

Mary Allison, ET Assignments., AP LA”

Sara De Boer –

 Kathy Hutchins –

Sam Mircovich –


The Power of the Pitch – Secrets of building your brand, company and image right this second

Author Presenter Gary Hankins tells Academy of Arts & Sciences members 55% is how you look, 38% is how you sound and only 7% for the message you deliver.
Author Presenter Gary Hankins tells Academy of Arts & Sciences members 55% is how you look, 38% is how you sound and only 7% for the message you deliver.

By George Mc Quade



 “ It can be a matter of seconds, perhaps up to 30 seconds for someone to decide if they like you,” Los Angeles-based author Gary Hankins of The Power of the Pitch told a packed house (Feb. 19, 2009) of mostly writers, producers, actors and members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, home of the prestigious Emmy® award. The Academy sponsored event was held at the CBS Studios, Studio City, CA. “The most important rule in making a successful pitch is that people must like you,” he said.

Hankins outline three qualities people must like that define you.

  1. How you look
  2. How you sound
  3. What you say

“If they don’t they don’t, they won’t listen to you, vote for you, be persuaded by you, or buy your products or services,” Hankins said. The 258 page book, The Power of the Pitchis available Online at or

Hankins notes that a Stanford and UCLA study concludes that your appearance accounts for 55 percent of your total likeability; your voice, 38 percent; and your message, seven percent.

Hankins offers several tips on how to dress, hand gestures, eye contact and hitting the homerun pitch to win more business.


National Presenter and Author Gary Hankins illustrates the "The Power of the PItch."
National Presenter and Author Gary Hankins illustrates the "The Power of the PItch."

“You should adopt the Rock Star Attitude, he said. In The book, Hankins tells the story of Garth Brooks. “Despite his talent, he didn’t make it in country

music until he discovered in his first record deal that it took more than skill to become a star.”

Hankins said Garth Brooks moved to Nashville to become a star, but during his interview the record company said ‘you have a great voice, but no appeal to your audiences.’Brooks’ roommate, also a musician told him maybe he should change his ways. He realized that he needed to connect with his audiences.

 “When Brooks found something he liked in everyone that came to see him, people couldn’t help but like him back. After he started interacting with his audiences, Capital Records signed him, and 10 years later he had sold more records than the Beatles,” said Hankins.

Hankins offers several rules of engagement in his book often taken for granted, which he abbreviates as S.T.A.R. “Grab their attention with S-star or shocking openers; T-telling a story or citing a study; A-asking questions; R-reciting a quote.”

After you grab their attention you need to have a persuasive model. The body of your presentation should preview what you are going to cover. What’s in it for them? Purpose? Why they should pay attention?

Author Gary Hankins autographs his book "The Power of the PItch' at a recent workshop put on by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at CBS Studios in Studio City, CA.
Author Gary Hankins autographs his book "The Power of the PItch' at a recent workshop put on by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at CBS Studios in Studio City, CA.


Hankins used a wiffle bat to drive home his message, “your talk should be entertaining and informative.” He tossed orange smiley face balls to anyone who had good answers to his questions.

During presentations Hankins said you should ask questions before you conclude your talk. “If you don’t answer the questions well, it will be the last thing they remember. If it wasn’t covered well, you can recap in the conclusion, which is more powerful and the last thing they remember.”


Other rules to remember:

  • Avoid telling everything you know (be a good listener)
  • Keep it entertaining and educational
  • Keep good posture (standing at parade rest you might start rocking)
  • No more than six bullet points with no more than two words
  • We would rather look at pictures, charts and graphics

“There was a time when people liked to read to us.” Don’t do it with a powerpoint presentations (PPP),” he said. “People do not use PPP well.”

Hankins also provides inside steps to handle objections to your presentations or proposals.

1. stay cool and calm

2. Don’t argue with people who say, “doesn’t sound like a good idea

3. Seek specifics (“What gives you that feeling? Too much money?”

4. The feel-tell-found formula (“I understand how you feel, someone else felt the same way, however when we show him our model they found we had the best one.”

“When wrapping up your presentation or proposal remember to use S.T.A.R.S,” he said. “Startle, tell a story or joke, asking questions and recite a quote.” Hankins said if you feel good about your presentation, “ask for their business.”

“So how does it sound? Can you see me on the team? What makes you not sure? What are your concerns? (ask questions)

And Hankins said do NOT say, “Thank You,” at the end of your presentation. “You don’t need to say ‘the end,’ like we used to see at the conclusion of old movies. Say it earlier, thank you for your time, and move on to your speech.”

Hankins also offers this advice when speaking with an objective.

  1. Your intro should be a a grabber
  2. Don’t begin with an apology (sorry didn’t get much sleep last night,etc)
  3. Announcing topics – don’t (“Great to be here at CBS Studios.”)
  4. Know your presentation – practice and rehearse it”

Not being prepared in every pitch will kill your presentation,” said Hankins. “No matter how good your pitch is, if you can’t powerfully respond to difficult questions and objections, it’s over.”

Personal Brand: Things to remember 

  • You’re always on stage
  • You should be creative, distinctive
  • Show your personal brand –
  • (it says why someone should pick you over someone else)

Finally, Hankins emphasizes that you need to bring passion to your communications. He played a video where Microsoft’s Steve Balmer jumped out on a company staged and screamed, “I love this company.” He also talked about the importance of voice inflection. “Be careful about pacing,”said Hankins. “Slow down on more important points and use positive words.

Words and phrases to leave at home during your presentation:

WRONG:“I think; I believe in my opinion; I feel that way; hopefully; maybe.”

BETTER: “I’m confident you will see; we have a terrific team to do the job; what we will do for you..and so on.” 

Avoid fillers like: “You know; and; uh.” There is nothing wrong with a pause for thought.

“To win, you must show that you like who you are talking to. Start by maintaining eye contact and smiling. Often, we concentrate so hard on what we’re saying that we forget about our facial expressions. We give the impression that we’re self-focused and egotistical,” explained Hankins. His next book. “Be a Rock Star.”

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