PDN: To get photos for the books
Sunset publishes, are you asking for
additional rights on the images you’ve
assigned for the magazine?
YS: The book division is separate,
and it’s out of Birmingham, Alabama.
If we want to re-use an image that
appeared in a book, we’ll pay [an
additional] space rate. It hasn’t become
this big synergistic thing yet, so for
the photographer, it works out great.
We don’t ask photographers for their
firstborn. Not yet.
PDN: What do photographers need
to do to win your trust that they
can complete an assignment, or get
repeat assignments from you?
YS: I look at what they’ve done
before, how well they’ve told a
story, who they’ve shot for before,
how consistent their look is, how
well they’ve edited their website.
When I’ve met with them when
they’ve come through town, I can tell
they’re not too introverted. They are
representing the magazine.
I can tell more by how buttoned-up they are in their
presentation when meeting with them. I’ve had people show up
for a meeting with no notepad or without their iPad and say, “Just
look at my website.” I don’t need you to sit with me to go through
your website. I’ve had people come in and it’s clear that their rep
told them to take the meeting with Sunset, but they don’t know that
much about the magazine.
Don’t be flaky about your business, basically. It helps if
PDN: What do you think has changed the most in the 20 years
photographers get their paperwork done, get their billing done
on time, reference the shoot properly, and put their address on
their invoices. It’s funny how often that comes up. I appreciate
when photographers do research on their own, before a shoot:
you’ve been a photo editor?
YS: I feel more thinly spread than ever before. I think email has
There’s just less time overall to do
sped that up significantly, and the fact that we’re doing more on
so many platforms. I just don’t have
the time to browse people’s websites
like I used to have or time to look
at a stack of magazines at home.
PDN: What could photographers do
to make a photography director’s life
YS: I’m sure that photographers would
like us to be more responsive, but just
be patient. It’s fine to send a gentle
reminder: “I’d love to meet with you
when your schedule allows.” I know
it’s hard for them to imagine when
they’re not busy that we can be so busy
we cannot answer emails. But I just
went out of the office for 15 minutes to
check on our camping gear [for an
upcoming shoot] and when I came
back there were 30 new emails and I
have to decide which to save and
which to delete.
ABOVE: A story on Tijuana, photographed by Dave Lauridsen, combines two areas of focus for the magazine: Food,
and travel excursions that can be enjoyed in a weekend. BELOW: A story on the wolves of Yellowstone National Park,
photographed by Brown Cannon III.