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August 12th, 2009

AFTER STAFF A Closer Look – Pro Photography Network reunites staff shooters in virtual newsroom

Posted by liveBooks

It’s not just photographers who are looking for new ways to apply well-developed skills. Matt Randall, who managed the editorial photo department at the L.A. Times for 15 years, recently founded the Pro Photography Network as a way to keep doing what he does best — organize a photo staff and hand out assignments.

Miki Johnson: How did the idea for Pro Photography Network come about and when was it officially launched?

Matt Randall: The idea came to me through various portals. Some from just brainstorming ideas and some from advice given to me about “doing what you do best.” Since I had managed the editorial photo department for 15 years at the L.A. Times and knew all of these photographers very well, it was just a natural thing to do. Let’s get them back together again so we can market their skills as photographers, and I’ll do what I like to do, which is logistics, financial innovations, and event planning.

MJ: How does the group work logistically? How are assignments handled?

MR: I will start by working with the needs of the client and confirming the who, what, where, when and why. Once I have the logistics of the shoot, I can work with the client and find the right photographer for their needs: male, female, bilingual, or any other special needs that require a photographer with a particular skill set.

“We can always find a photographer for any job.”

I then send out a request based on the needs of the client to the pool of photographers that meet the clients criteria. Since we all have our Blackberry/iPhone devices, reaching the group is easy. I then hook up the photographer with the client. From this point on, the photographer can focus on being a photographer and doing what they do best. At the L.A. Times, we are always trying to find the best photographer for every assignment too. But the beauty of this approach is the client has more input up front when hiring a photographer.

MJ: What has been the toughest challenge so far and how are you tackling it?

MR: Advertising. Marketing. Handling all of the different media portals in use today; Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogging, emails, texting, etc. Using the same concept behind Pro Photography Network, I try to find the best experts for all of the tasks presented to me. I’ve had the support of very involved networking organizations and been able to get all of my 2:00 am requests ironed out.

MJ: How are you reaching out to potential clients? Are they receptive? Is it hard to explain PPN and how it can be of service to them?

MR: Word of mouth among the group’s photographers, the use of every social networking I can figure out, plus networking in my community and all the photographers’ communities. This is a total group effort and all members involved are behind the concept. With power in numbers and decades of experience behind us, we can always find a photographer for any job. Whatever it is, we can (or have) photographed it in the past. Our overall strength is that a photographer never has to say no to a potential client. If he or she can’t shoot a job, they have the power of the network behind them to fill the client’s needs. Give me a call and I will find a photographer.

We also have partnered up with The Journalism Shop. This network consists of ex-L.A. Times reporters, writers, editors, graphic designers, copy editors, artists, etc. Again the concept here is the same: We have a very talented pool of individuals with years of experience. Let us use what we know to help you get the best possible results.

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Have you thought about working together with colleagues on new business ventures? What are the pros and cons for you?

Click here for a list of all other “After Staff” posts.

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