Art Director-Turned-Photographer Riding the Wave of Change

Jumping the fence. It’s not that uncommon for art directors to do these days, at least in a semi-professional capacity, as evidenced by the ADC’s recent StartUP event. Jeff Berting is one such case.

Having started as a character designer at Universal, Jeff worked his way up to an art director role at Disney and then ran the entire art department at Pixar’s interactive titles for THQ. During this time he was always shooting as a creative outlet to his "day job." As life progressed, his photography grew to where it is now – working solely as a professional photographer out of Manhattan Beach California. Recently Jeff started working with ADC partner ImageBrief to start selling his work to agencies around the world. He talks a little here about himself and using a new channel to connect with art directors:

The image that he mentioned he sold is an interesting case for both him and the creative team who bought it. This is the first time the agency found a photo directly from a photographer for their campaign that wasn’t a stock shot or a commissioned shoot. The image search was for a shot of a mother and baby, but it goes beyond just two simple keywords that you would normally punch into a stock imagery search engine.

The request was made by posting a written brief on the ImageBrief site and by using all the detail of the English language, the agency could request such nuances as an authentic, non-cheesy feel with a confident mother, natural light and real people, not models. The level of detail that only a human brain can interpret. You can view the brief here and Jeff’s shot that was used. Over 60 entries were received and in the case of Jeff, he shot his entry specifically for this brief, but without the need for formal hire agreements. In this way, a custom image was found without any of the usual costs incurred from commissioning or even for sending out the brief.

Creatives know the pain of tracking down the right shot when there simply isn’t the budget to commission, and this method gets exactly what you need. It’s also estimated that up to 90% of professional photographers’ images are not online at all making them mostly inaccessible. This new model gives art directors access to an enticing amount of fresh imagery.

Jeff talks about having lots of different irons in lots of different fires as a photographer. It would seem that new ways of sourcing images like this have given art directors a couple more irons to throw in there, as well.

Jeff Berting is a lifestyle, surf and travel photographer from Manhattan Beach, CA. View his portfolio here.

Interested in following in Jeff’s footsteps? Learn more here.