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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 23 of 24

Interview with Brandon Kirk: Galleries & Books


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 23 of 24

Interview with Brandon Kirk: Galleries & Books


Lesson Info

Interview with Brandon Kirk: Galleries & Books

for the last segment I want to introduce a special guest his name is brandon kirk he is a marketing consultant who has worked with tom on a number of different project's on dh he's goingto sit down and we're going to talk with him and tom about a number of things we're gonna talk about some upcoming events about advice for new photographers who are starting out ways to improve your photography and some general chips in that area so folks help me welcome brennan thank you very much thank you thank you it's been a lot of fun he's a great one of the things that uh I found most moving about that video is thie relationship that tom house with his uh I'm gonna calm clients or customers but I think what you can tell is that they're really friends and uh you've been watching a number of the segments tom's personality come toe know and appreciate now and you can see how that comes across in his business and I think I think there's a lesson that people can learn and how you treat the people that...

uh you photograph for you know I'm a privilege sold because not only do I get to photograph do what I love to do and what I never dreamed of doing but the people who come to the galleries collectors especially karen hobbins is there who has one hundred images you saw me these people keep me out there so god I think them humongously and if it weren't for people like that and a lot of others you know there's everything from a janitor who buys an eight by ten you know I'm happy for that some little lady comes in buys twenty note cards or a box of christmas cards were counted and happy for them too doesn't not all big collectors many means I'm fortunate to have these good friends and collectors and people get to know that keep me going you know by the gas and get me the places I can photograph because without them I wouldn't be here if I couldn't do what I do so very grateful look wade I just want to jump in somebody in the chat room like hell patty said I'll never forget tom signing my book I gave him my own photo card with a note of gratitude for his inspiration and reminded him how he'd stopped to help with my flat tire in the tetons twenty years ago and he came around the table and hugged and kissed me on the cheek and told me I made his day he totally made mine and that's that personality that you're talking about that's what thomas thank you and for anyone who hasn't been to one of tom's galleries I I've been fortunate enough to get teo most of them on dh I would encourage you to go and I think we actually have a slide that has a list of the galleries tom has eight galleries and there's it's great to see the images on screen it's great to see individual prints but to really appreciate the body of work I really believe there is no place but a gallery to do that and you get a whole new appreciation for the beauty and the variety when they're displayed all together a couple in uh in colorado illinois course jackson wyoming uh loya california for those of you who aren't familiar with the west coast that's the san diego area omaha park city has a beautiful beautiful gallery with a fireplace I just wanted to get my hot chocolate sit down and not get up again and uh steamboat springs colorado I think you're remembering all those I realize you're reading s so impressed I was just looking over your shoulder but those air it was a really fantastic fantastic galleries now tommy actually do these receptions fairly frequently I know you travel the world but when you're here you make a point teo do receptions like the one we saw jackson can you tell us a little bit about what happens at these receptions and uh what you hoped to accomplish when you do it well we basically try to do with them once or twice a year one time I had a cz many is seventeen galleries actually and it was difficult but now with the caries um you know I'm doing more and more receptions and since it's always a good excuse to have ah if you have a new book if you have new prince I don't do that many books but this case I'm going to do three receptions the next few weeks I'm going to africa for five weeks and then I'm going to do another three or four receptions after that uh before we leave galleries and move on to books I just want to check with rusty if we've got any questions from the audience about god belt galleries we definitely do we've got a few different ones photo maker who curates which photos should hang next to each other in tom's galleries do tom are you directly involved with that or do you have somebody like brandon who is helping you out with that we'll have a great staff almost every gallery um I have has a manager but they all have managers and most of managers have been in there for fifteen or twenty years one or two maybe twenty three or four years and they've learned the sort of the craft of hanging and and have a gallery director that helps sort of direct what images you have to be hung so speak we tryingto have it's not cologne is not a mcdonald's you know it's if you are in lawyer you might have more seascapes ifyou're galina illinois you might have more midwest images on dh park city and say jackson might have more african images you know more cosmopolitan travelers say so they're certain images that we tend to hang and then everybody pretty natural have eight or ten images come on the fall of eight or ten images that come out to spring and a smattering of images in between and I request that they all get playtime you know they get air time on the ball so to speak and try them out see how they go um but pretty much the gallery managers and or there's always assistant manager in a couple of sales people are associates and they were together and you see there's one or two of those people who arm or I want to say but maybe artistic in a sense of hanging and designer oriented and um we try to move images fairly regularly so it's a oftentimes there um group effort in and when I go into a gal races you know really nice ifthis was there and that I have over the years after doing our race for since nineteen seventy eight you know try to not be too micromanaging in and let the government agers and their staff do their thing any questions here in the room because I know there's a lot of questions online that I can take but I don't want to monopolize that question when will you open a gallery in seattle um I would love to have a gallery in seattle actually I think it be a great place my good friend art has our wolf has a gallery here and I think it has the right clientele have actually looked often on you find the space you manage it wait for all the people out there who are asking when you going to open a gallery in my town eso thank you let's talk a little bit about the physical presentation of the images in the gallery someone was noticing it looks like you don't actually do things under glasses that intentional is thatjust doesn't depend on the location it's actually from maybe the images we saw in the film were more canvas we do originally most of the prints or fuji krystle archive prints and most of them are under glass we used to do a lot more mats the trend now seems to be more liners fewer mats that's just sort of trend in the photography world used to be more simple frames um more classic museum kind of frames but I've gotten a lot of people over the years who said you should look to have it on canvas and I was really against canvas for a long time because I thought well it's kind of like a painting if you want a painting by a damn painting you know but then then canvas became archival you know upto hundred years or more treated right uh much like the crystal archive receive a chrome or or any of the prints absent prince and so we do now we said ok if that's what the customer wants and it looks good and it's archival then we will put someone canvas we put someone um glossy fuji paper we put put glue mountain against plexiglass words become museum out they have no frame we do liners and we do some do clay's do some inkjets absent so it's maur in certain images I think ten to warrant a different treatment now if you're doing I've done shows in like right now there's one in the san diego natural history museum which just came down and there's all panoramic imagery from my natural world book and they were all done with sort of museum frames in simple mats and all under glass so if you're doing a museum show then you do them that way but you know I finally decided that if people really in the canvas is very popular the museum mount which is glass no frame is public from war contemporary homes or offices and then there's a lot of people elected traditional uh either declare a jet or fuji cultural archive under glass so you work with people for their location can you talk a little bit about the documentation that comes with them do you sign all of the prints that you do do provide certificates of authenticity for limited runs and then maybe you could talk a little bit about how you decide how many of the limited editions to dio um we'll start with the last question we do from two fifty two thirty five hundred two different send to be nine fifty or under now five hundred uh because I produced so much work you know when you get to thirty five hundred you want it you take one down put a new one up instead of putting in storage so you tend to do smaller editions that tends sellout quicker because there's fewer of them I used to think that well I wanted everybody to know the wanted one to be able to have one you know so I had a higher addition twenty five hundred thirty five hundred um the documentation is provided with the prince do sign them stuff like I signed I signed all the prints they're all numbered and I said that's I spend most of my life signing print every day I go into the office when I'm home not traveling and I will sign prints for the most part which I feel very grateful to do it's not my favorite job but I was think thank god I have some prints decide so I'm never complained you know sign your name to anything there's a gift so I'm happy to do that and um they're all a number like I said and there will come with a document of authenticity that's written up what's the story and the date and the edition number which goes with the prints that question tom I have a question on the size of the print and what its most popular what really sells the dimensions of the print when you goto published thes or print thes is there a particular size and also another question is the larger prince is there a reason I mean I can see in the larger prints it sort of involves yume or in the picture and it's not something that you consider when you print these well there's some it's a it's a great question the we tend to do sort of well would be the birds in a smaller sizes eight by ten so the two bridges of the tan injures that we showed in the smaller sizes you don't want sort of ah eagle size looking western tanager necessarily although there's some people who will buy that in a thirty by fifty and then of course the bigger mammals we tend to do in bigger sizes and not necessarily in eight by ten and the landscapes are probably more like a free for all but we don't have to do panoramic ce in something less than eleven by thirty two which so it's living interest wide and thirty two long um because they seemed landscape seemed to need more space obviously and if it's shot on film or on the thirty six megapixel camera say with the food you panoramic you khun already making billboard size um so there's but some of the older cameras film cameras or uh this lower megapixel cameras there's a limitation how big you might want to make it until you know it either gets started the image start to get deteriorated noisy or too much grain so that's a consideration but and if people want to say I want I want oh you know we do have people say we do a twenty nine but ninety which is quite big and they said we have ah office would like to have it twice as big but custom make it if they want to make it billboard size we have made billboard size prince we've had an actual in los angeles not too long ago of that tiger image was where a fundraiser for a pause I believe wass so it depends but there are some images you couldn't make that big because of whatever it was shot on it that's the general answer you all right we have one more question and then we're gonna move on are you the only person that chooses which photos are going to become prince and when I choose what photos will become a prince who determines which media is going to be printed on and who actually does your printing what lab that's that's a big secret uh I'm the final decision maker uh but we work with the people might office of a su and andy jessica on victoria and sometimes we call in the gallery people to come over way edit things like that said yesterday intercession how we had it we had it down you know down chisel down to you end up with the five spirits similares again when you're shooting like you've seen eleven frames a second becomes really difficult when used to shoot one frame or three frames it was a lot easier to edit but no you look at every little nuance you know the highlight in the eye or the little tiny little gesture or maybe I changed I s so you see how often it change so so kids that sixty four hundred esso and thirty two hundred sixty four hundred eight hundred a hundred will likely be a little bit better less noisy and if it's the same you know same say they both come up to be the same um as good as the other one then you pick the one that has a low rise so just basically things like that but it's a kind of a group decision in a way and then sometimes um um is that told democratic but almost but sometimes we actually put out when we have images that we naming is the one of the harder parts that wasn't a question but coming up with good names is sometimes harder than taking the freaking picture wait so we sometimes uh we'll send about to the galleries you know say um um what do you think about name or title and then even more fun we will send it who are put on our facebook page and now that we have like sixty thousand followers and ideas if we choose I choose the title that they've submitted then they get a free fourteen by twenty frame image of that picture a za gift which is you know great fun and sometimes we have we're used to trail lim toh one one title per person but that's a tour on and I have somebody go through the you know sort of whittled down that you know stupid titles or ones that probably won't fly and if you could look in on my titles around the gallery you're on my web site you know kind of three are but the kind of things were done but then also tells you you know it gives you that interaction with the public with your fans with your and it also often times helps you know they come up with great titles that's fun and also well on our facebook page we usually would get into that social stuff maybe in a minute but let that let that be for now well one of the things that I wanted a sort of transition from is uh something that we've talked about but I think it's been taken for granted particularly among photographers today and that is printing um it's uh we're not printing like we used to print and I'm really curious how many of view if we could if you see a quick show of hands in the live audience here how many of you print your work regularly yeah so maybe ten percent of u just raised your hand and I suspect that at home it was ah similar number I think is it was one of the things that I'd like to hear tom's opinion about although I think I know what the answer is going to be but we've adopted digital photography and it's been wonderful for so many of the reasons that tom has talked about but it has stopped a lot of us from printing and sharing our photography because it used to be print is how you did it now it's on an iphone on dso uh talk a little bit about how you feel about the importance of sharing a print with someone else I didn't but the image craft in phoenix arizona is my life my main lab and uh and we do s and prints in house at my office in jackson um um sharing uh I think I got the question but sharing the prince I was in the gallery setting is the best you know for me and you know now of course we get everybody has like you say iphones and sue had a I think a five iphone had a three her pictures are always better than mine on the iphone just really made me mad you know so but to me that print is the really the ultimate end of all this effort and I think unlike books even books or the next because I have a lot of longevity and hopefully people look through them for some period of time but a print on the wall is really rewarding not on the gallery wall but on a person's wall you know something that usually is there for a very long time and uh I think unlike magazines you know a lot of people a lot of friends of mine do magazine work which I would do a little bit which is great but use of the magazine is tossed off for unless it's a national geographic or something people say that like I do you never looked at it again so the print is a really rewarding um way to display one's work think that's what you're asking is finished uh let's talk about books uh you weren't chomping at the bit publish books he actually got pulled in tow doing your first book uh why is that I wasn't that uh sort of a natural for you I didn't think I was ready during my first book offer remember the publisher but again it was somebody he knew my work maybe from the airport display and he said that we'd like to do a book of your work called american wildlife or wildlife of america can't remember what didn't matter the title is loose at the time but that was a general thing and I said I don't have american wildlife I have met wildlife from the rocky mounds of wildlife from the florida everglades a wildlife from the prairies I don't have quote american wildlife he said that sameer will fill in the blanks you got enough on then I started talking missus well you know what kind of a book and what size and how many pages you know what would be the price point and he says oh I think it was hard twenty four pages or something it would be nineteen ninety five that would be the price point they're looking at and this is twenty five years ago but I thought nineteen ninety five I didn't know any books you know I mean I was thinking like elliot porter you know of course or ah can't say ansel adams I'm not going to go there you know any big coffee table book was at least forty dollars and so I thought how could you do a really good printing job in paper in book nineteen ninety five and that's at night so then I have a question well I don't know if I want to put my best pictures in the nineteen ninety five book and he said no that's okay you can just use your seconds okay into discussion you know I mean that so that was my first experience and that was um uh really good learning lesson because he actually said we will sell a million of them whatever the hell that match you know but at nineteen ninety five and it would be a very lucrative thing for me to do when they were it was a big publisher and how could you go wrong with well if of america so but I really should be a cheesy book one way or another and he wasn't very interested in um doing us you know something what I would be interested in so then another eleven came across I told you a bit about this and other session saw my displaying the denver airport he said I like to do a book you work and I was kind of shy about the last experience and he'll be another one of these yahoos and he turned out to be a real genuine human being and publisher his father was uh publisher in new york long time publisher and then he sent me here so let me send you some books that we've done and they're all lavish coffee table huge books seven five dollars to one hundred fifty dollars books and they were on you know he's had never done a photography book before but and I think I told said this before but we did want a portion we did on duck stamps of america we did on quilting america we did monet we did renoir we did then go we did matisse and I thought well I mean that's pretty good company you know so so that well and they're beautiful beautiful book and so then I says okay and what I have control over the cover and the design layout you know maybe the title and you know what what I just give you pictures and you do what you want with him you could do the title and if you have a good designer and if she shows me her work which I had on dh she's qualified and the price is right we can you know we can work all that out we can talk all this out and he says but how are we going to do this book how we're going to put it together this is what you asked me to do the book so so he's well a lot of pretty pictures and you said that's not enough you know you gotta have a nicer well so we sat down with our kid we need to break it down into ecosystems you know grasslands like prairies and arctic and that's why you went to do the pull appears and then I got hung up on that as I mentioned and sort of wetlands and seascapes and so we broke it out of ecosystems and then we put in the chapter on africa's east africa so that was the first book and he published it I went there he said I got my ass if I could be on press I've never been on really prime press other than calendars notecards stuff in the us we went to hong kong in the press experience is really interesting and difficult were impressed for two weeks and it was before digital film obviously and I saw stuff stuff on the on the printed page is you know like little hair like pubic hair sorry like a little curly here is this guy that we can't have that hayes were hong kong you have to remember where you are no no no no this is not part of the deal we took all these little spots and pears and things out of you know what I saw at home because that you send they send proofs when you correct those you circle things and colors and is a lot of a lot of back and forth with a printer in hong kong we got there and we had a bit of ah ah fight on press and I said no way he sent me a note and under my door that night he says well I'm never going to bring you in press again but I told him to shut the presses down until they get it right and so for two days we sat in her hotel room drinking wine waiting for them to get the press is right they're starting back up and they did a beautiful book so that was my first experience of that book and the next book poor dancer self published and I learned about how difficult that was you know it was a single subject polar bears I could have probably found a print and I think he would have done that too he actually did want to it but I thought it would distribute you know through a regular distributor and have a little bit more control this stuff and the distributor your ingram and in denver distributor book but it's a really difficult way to do a distribution of a book not a business not a fund and they the thing is they self the retail they take a discount and if the retailers doesn't sell it comes back to them they send it back to you and you have a guarantee you by the book back most of them aren't aren't sellable and marcus or shop worn so fortunately for me and the only way that I could do the natural world book was co published and uh the panoramic book and that worked out pretty well find a distributor and they take care of all the pr to care for all the printing I went out press on all this book and another a great beautiful child but that took care of the distribution so I didn't worry about that and they distributed to the bookstores and I bought enough books unfortunately for me at these eight or ten or fifteen dollars what it was that the time so I had a built in market so I could sell them at retail and buy them basically a wholesale so my mark upon this book was really good compared to say it author or retire her who does books and they get a royalty royalty usually runs to ten twelve fifteen percent on a on their net there that might be a sixty dollar book there that might be fifteen or twenty dollars so you figure ten percent you get the dollar in half a dollar a book you have to sell a lot of books you have to get on oprah I'll work on that before we go onto our next segment that I'm gonna discuss with tom I just want to see if there's any questions from our online audience about books and love wishing anybody here have questions about books marketplace with the existence of amazon and the demise of bookstores in general across america what is the market or distribution for books like art book mean people can't go to a store and thumb through him which used to be a very common way of buying books so where did they get sold now amazon dot com ah in that case how do they learn you know what to look for in a way of books you just go on say it I won't look at the time of the books you wear yourself out you know so you can't really thumb through them so I just wondered howto looks good distributed today well the day of the lavage coffee table a book is kind of passed I think you know photo books in a way they're certain publishers that do just photo books and they're still doing some beautiful books but they're fewer and fewer for between with the you know did miser the sort of the big book stores you know where the fewer barnes and nobles of the borders or you know those big book stores and you know amazon for all the good that it doesn't all is incredible company there's like a wal mart you know but it's it's um difficult for the small books mama pop bookstore for the old bookstores to exist because of the way they do business and it's a tough one a really tough one of course you can do self publisher your own book there's a lot you know apple does a dozen different printer you know that you can put your own books for five or ten dollars but then it's still a distribute show what you going to do how you going to distribute them you can give certain member to your family and sell some to your friends but how are you going to make money off of it on its book business is very hard right now and again um the rizzoli is not distribute all my books your big book store in new york big publisher in italy and they did the latest book did a wonderful job on it um and they took care of the design and the you know the layout we sent that we did all the editing the pictures we went down from twenty thousand pictures two to five thousand two five hundred three fifty for I think the book has one hundred fifty images in it um and three fifty we sent three fifty to their designer and the designer then worked with color you know we had a layout of where these pictures are from so that would be in the rights you know the right order of north to south that's what we did you know we couldn't figure out how to do it any other way you know arctic teo to antarctica and the so there'd be thirty pictures from from alaska and thirty pictures from canada and the designer than laid those outs and layout and it's so much simpler now in many ways because it's all done on a computer and you can move images you know just be cutting paste and all thought it was hard you're not little thumbnails and so is beautiful you know the fun of it is it is much more fun to lay out a book so we worked with the designer there and you know they said we had we really like this and you know obviously we sent the pictures to them so we thought there were we had the ultimate control because we sent them to him but then there was an ad we need one this other one we just took so but the e you know to really hard to distribute or find a distributor amazon is the main man even in rizzoli I sold some books I'll do tow amazon that kind of kills me because there you can go to amazon and by that book there's a ninety five dollar book the rigor of trade edition which is what they sell tio amazon is a leather bound for one ninety five in the limited edition is a thousand amazon is not getting any in limited editions clam shell with the print blah blah and the leather they don't have that either and they get the trade edition but they will sell it for thirty seven percent off and I saw from my gallery's at ninety five dollars and you know that's just that's just the way the deal is and some people but by the book and amazon and they come for me to sign it that's okay I'm glad they bought the book and I get like two bucks out of that book so um anyway that's the book book business and not a very good answer probably but it's hard well maybe one more because I know we still have some content to get to but terran bayer says for a photographer who wants to create a photo book where do you start first of all I think we would love to know do you shoot specifically for a book do you shoot thinking okay these images were going into a book this is the story I want to tell with this book or do you just say oh out of my breath of um out of my portfolio I think I could make a book out of this and then yeah let's start there you know I don't shoot for for the books and that's say the natural world booker's the panoramic book is one of the reasons it's it's that format it is a panoramic book but when we try to do it is a normal book with the gutter I found at most half my pay half my animals were getting cut in half you know the gutter is always an issue so if you're thinking about if your magazine photographers say national geographic or you know you're doing a book you think about you know if this is a full page bread if it's a vertical horizontal the story and then say if I did something with his bears what I might do um I will think about the behaviour mohr about certain you know maybe a little bit about how that layout might be but generally speaking I'm shooting for the best image I can of that situation

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Learn wildlife and outdoor photography from one of the most prolific nature photographers of our time in The Art of Wildlife Photography with Tom Mangelsen.

Drawing lessons from his 40 years of observing and photographing the Earth's last great wild places, Tom will discuss the complex process behind his breathtaking wildlife photographs. You’ll learn:

  • What it takes to be a great wildlife photographer
  • How to capture wildlife in their natural environment
  • The best places to find animals
  • How to increase the visibility of your work
  • The importance of respecting wildlife and wildlife ethics

Tom will cover the basics of gear and scouting and teach you how to think about lighting when capturing animals in the wild. Tom will also offer a critique images and portfolios submitted by viewers.

If you have a passion for outdoor photography and want to capture the spirit of wildlife in your camera, join Tom Mangelsen for this inspiring and educational class.


a Creativelive Student

There is probably just one word that comes closest to describing Tom Mangelsen’s photography. Glorious. There are other good words too, of course. And they are also inadequate. Mangelsen’s panoramas are (cumulatively and separately (any one of them)) the best I’ve seen. Mangelsen teaches by example and his examples are exemplary. I’ve seen several photographers giving courses on CreativeLive lately many of whose photos I would love to have taken - but with Mangelsen I envy his possession not just of his photos but of their subjects too. And he does possess his subjects in ways many outstanding photographers fail to - possesses them and then leaves them to continue on with their lives. There are other reasons I’m grateful for this course too - his field trips and critiques have shown me (as with other CreativeLive courses) just how lazy I’m being with my work. And if his critiques aren’t motivation enough I only have to view his slide show ‘Last Great Wild Places’ for more inspiration. The photos in this series are revelations all on their own - even without commentary. Thank you CreativeLive for continuing to bring us the finest wildlife and nature photographers at work today - and thank you to photographers like Tom Mangelsen for giving us a look at the way they work.


I could not stop watching this class and set aside time each day until I finished it. I guess you could saw that I binge watched it. Then I was really sad when it was finished! Like a good movie that stays with you and that you don't want to end! This is a wonderful class and the best I have taken at CreativeLive. I learned so much and have a great fondness for Tom Mangelsen. He really knows how to pull you into his passion. I am so grateful to have taken this course and grateful to Tom for all that he has done in his career to further his craft and to share it. I am inspired! If you are going to purchase and course from CreativeLive, this is one to be sure to take!!! Thank you again.

Dub Maitland

Excellent class! An incredibly talented photographer who has a vast knowledge of the subject matter as well as an outstanding ability to deliver the information. It was as enjoyable as it was informative. I first saw Tom's work in an office in Denver in 1991 and have been inspired by him ever since. Thank you Creative Live, for giving us the opportunity to spend this time with the Master! And thank you Tom for your willingness to share your talent with us! Dub Maitland, Missoula, MT.