Business Challenges for the Visual Arts in the Digital Era – part 1- The Commercial Market

Digital Nude. © Jorge Parra
As digital technologies are constantly reshaping lifestyles, industry business models, the markets and the society at large, culture is also massively influenced, and there are still so many questions to answer as to what are the new directives, what will become the actual drivers and trend setters of our future, and truly important here, the profitability factor in several fields who were truly successful in the analog world, but are not yet properly adapted to the digital changes. There are many careers which used to be a perfect niche, a shot to the floor, as a proven way to success (lawyers, architects, just to name a few), who now see their market drastically changed and profits diminished. Same thing occurs for some aspects of the Visual Arts.
We will first talk about Visual Arts, mainly photography, and it’s interaction with the business markets, and then we will talk about the world of Fine Art in the digital era.
Digital technologies have brought a true democratization of the photographic process, with both positive and negative connotations. The presence of decent cameras in almost every smart phone out there, (not to mention the ever-improving quality of affordable, pocket digital cameras) is providing the background for a market flooded with “good enough” and cheap (or free) images that are affecting the way professional photographers are perceived. Most of the times, the perception is blurred, and Pros have to clearly showcase their differentiation capabilities to prove their worth in the market.
Well known cliches, like, “everybody is a photographer now”, is helping build the most amazing collection of images of human life, the environment and everything related, but is not necessarily positive in the commerce / advertising world.
The discussion about good enough images and cameras has reached a point where the perception of the average guy is that “a great photo comes from a great camera”, rendering the creator, the photographer, a second-hand matter.
If we add to this that millions of freely available images are added on a daily basis through so many digital online channels, the concept of what is a professional photographer in this digital era, needs to be reviewed, specially when we talk about commercial / advertising photography, used by businesses to promote their products and services.
The actual bottom line is that there is no way to impose criteria on people, it is and will always be a subjective issue, a matter of perceived value, except for the fact that a true professional photographer will be able to bring to the table, not only the much needed images, but all the production values that are involved in making those images, both before and after the capture process. Agencies and clients looking for visual services must focus not only in the glitz coming from highly photoshopped images, but how the business-savvy of each artist can certainly accommodate to corporate/industry business standards, and I promise you, not every person with camera can do that!
Saving a buck here and there, by hiring the wrong (inexpensive) person, can become a disaster for your marketing efforts and eventually, for your business. The use of inexpensive, Royalty-Free or Micro-Stock images has led competing companies to use the very same image for their advertising campaigns, harming them both.
(see for example,
Photographers also have to adjust their business models and the way they interact with the markets, in order to maintain and improve their perceived worth. Current photographer trade organizations are not really up to the dynamic of the changing markets and trends, and creators need different strategies to cope with those changes. The trade groups had their relevance back in the days, but are not currently capable of influencing the directions of the markets, setting trends or even protecting the professional photographer’s interests in a tangible way.
(see for example:
I firmly believe that smaller, clearly focused groups, like the Photographer’s Collectives, are becoming a better working structure, based on the cooperative business model for true professional shooters, and the aggregation of different collectives may certainly become the replacing structure of aging trade groups.
We created the Miami Visual Collective (, a group comprised of professional advertising/commercial photographers in Miami, in an effort to add our names, and both contribute and influence to the current trends and changes in the industry. There are already a good number of such collectives in the US and Canada, and we expect more collectives appearing in the markets in the coming years. We are already exchanging ideas with Canadian collectives, and this trend will keep growing.
In Part 2 of this text, I will discuss the influence of digital technologies in the Fine Arts Markets. Stay tuned!
About the Author: Jorge Parra is the owner of Jorge Parra Photography and founder of the Miami Visual Collective. More of Jorge’s ideas can also be found in his Blog.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: "Synthetic Habitat", Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting Design Photography by Miami Advertising photographer Jorge Parra, launches fully revamped website

©2014 Jorge Parra

MIAMI June 20th, 2014–  Miami Advertising photographer, Jorge Parra  launches a fully revamped website for his Architectural  and Interior Design Photography Projects  

Working in tandem with a creative consultant, photographer and director Jorge Parra,  edits and restructures the large amount of photos he has shot in these challenging and amazing fields, to produce a revamped website with a more conceptual approach, and much larger images, for a more pleasing experience.

Different sections of the portfolio online include, the “classical” sections of Architecture and Interior Design Photography, but Jorge’s involvement with the luxury market keeps growing,  so he decided to also include both personal work and lifestyle images,  (travel, club life, spas, yatch, ) , which would not usually be part of an architectural photographer’s portfolio, but reflects Jorge’s  cross-over vision and passion for working with people, spaces and  travel images.
Additionally, Jorge’s work in Lighting Design Photography, has proven to be one of the  most fascinating and challenging projects he has been involved in, where light is the actual subject matter, as seen through the designer’s eyes, as an added value for human comfort,  when rebuilding/refurbishing  public spaces with just light.

Jorge Parra can be contacted directly via email (,  by phone at 1-786-222-9405, and through his agency, ArchNetStudio, in the West Coast


Press Release: Jorge Parra Photography Receives 2013 Miami Award

Jorge Parra by ©
Matt Pace


Miami Award Program Honors the Achievement

MIAMI December 3, 2013 — Jorge  Parra Photography   has been selected for the 2013 Miami Award in the Photographers category by the Miami Award Program.

Each year, the Miami Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Miami area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Miami Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity.

Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Miami Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Miami Award Program

The Miami Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Miami area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Miami Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Miami Award Program

Miami Award Program

Providing Visual Support for our Returning Troops

There are many ways to provide some simple help, assistance or support to our soldiers when they return from war duty, and it can be just the moment they may need it more!

As provider of visual services to the commercial / advertising community, Jorge Parra Photography is  more than happy to offer a substancial discount (75% to 90%) to military individuals and their family groups, who may want to have a simple series of portraits taken in their own homes, after the returning soldiers have settled.

Our previous experience  of many years doing portrait shootings for kids waiting for adoption ( The Heart Gallery and The Waiting Projects), people waiting for organ transplants (Univ. of Miami Organ Donor Program) , women with breast cancer (  American Breast Cancer Foundation) or the portraits of kids with terminal illnesses( Flashes of Hope), have proven us time and again  the positive and powerful impact a good portrait can have on an individual and his/her  family / group, and this is the modest offer we can do, within our actual capabilities, to try to provide some comfort to our returning heroes.

So please, make contact with Jorge Parra, using the standard channels (listed below), and let’s plan for a few hours of family fun and some cool portraits!!.

Spread the word and help out with this initiative. Our soldiers very well deserve this, and more!!

This is NOT a Veteran’s Day special or anything like that. This is our year-long commitment to support our troops!


Jorge Parra Photography   |    7 8 6 . 2 2 2 . 9 4 0 5   




The new Fall 2013 season begins for the members of the Miami Visual Collective with a fantastic Gallery Exhibition that will showcase both the harmony and the contrast between Visual Art Work, Personal Projects, and Advertising/Commercial images.
This exhibition features visual work from all areas, creating this “SYNERGY OF ART AND COMMERCE IN PHOTOGRAPHY”, by the Collective’s founding members Jorge ParraMatthew Pace, Paul MorrisSid Hoeltzell and Jorge Cardenas.
Here is our Press Release:
“Synergy of Art and Commerce in Photography”
Gala event scheduled for September 28,  2013, poised
to showcase MVC’s commercial and Fine-Art images.
Gala Opening: September 28th, 2013. 7:30 PM
1601 S.W 1st. Street. Miami Florida 33135
Miami, FL– August 24th, 2013 – Miami Visual Collective (MVC) announces a gala event beginning September 28, 2013, to showcase the two sides of their talent, to be held at the prestigious Borders Gallery at 1601 SW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33135
Miami Visual Collective is a group of professional photographers who come together to share knowledge, friendship and collective promotion via a web blog presence and gallery exhibits.  MVC members have put together a new show with a desire to appeal to audiences from both the art world and the commercial arena. The show features selected works from commercial assignments in synergy with personal fine art projects.
The September 28th event, entitled “Miami Visual Collective Presents Synergy of Art and Commerce in Photography” is intended to bring members of the fine art, and commercial imaging worlds together to enjoy the show, meet the five photographers and indulge in food and drinks with friends. 
A true encounter of the creative minds, producers and talent in Miami!
Inhabiting different corners of the photography world, the members of Miami Visual Collective each boast a particular commercial strength in areas like – aerials, food, fashion, cars/trucks, dance and corporate photography – and while those elements define their commercial side, they also exhibit an artistic passion, producing limited edition collections and contemporary art for display, professional collections, art dealers, and the commerce/corporate sector.
We all hope to see you attending this great Gala Show soon!


Jorge Parra’s Vision of Casual Summer Luxury

©Jorge Parra

The image for the Summer e-Promo was shot in South Beach during the rush of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, under the hot summer sun of July.

The shooting was done at the Rooftop of the “W” Hotel, with fantastic swimwear from the “LUXE COLLECTION” by Lisa Vogel, with accessories by designer Heather Hawkins.

Many thanks to Mac Cosmetics for the styling and to model Maddie Collins from Ford Models Miami




After having worked with Bravo Miami Ad Agency, the Young & Rubicam office for the hispanic market, in a campaign for the Winn Dixie brand, I was asked if I could work with them on a rush job to photograph the entire team of Creatives, Vice-Presidents and CEO of the agency, for their new website.

So, in brief, it was a  rush corporate portrait assignment, you know, one of those shootings where a simple portrait of each executive is required for corporate identity purposes. 

Fortunately, one of the Creatives of the group, Noel, was assigned in charge of the project, and when we discussed it, he told me he was expecting not only the “homework” shooting, the standard portrait image, but he wanted to further explore the personality of each of his team mates. 

When he mentioned this concept, I quickly suggested that each person be advised to bring a very personal prop, some dear personal belonging, be it a toy, a tool, a memorabilia, a doll, in short, whatever personal item(s) that truly relates to each one of them.

The standard portraits were done, and immediately we “switched” into non-standard portrait format, and that was then the fun began!
©Jorge Parra
We had both unusual and familiar items, but it all helped bringing  a true personal touch to those portraits.

It was a great opportunity for Advertising Professionals to momentarily become subjects in front of the camera. 

This usually never happens, as their natural role is meant to be right behind the cameras, either working along with photographers and directors on the production of the campaigns they handle, or running the executive decision processes happening behind the scenes.
© Jorge Parra
This rather unexpected images, will publish later on, in different company communications.

The standard portraits can be seen on their new website.



Every once in a while, I feel everyone has to stop the rush, take a couple of deep breaths, and dedicate some time to oneself, look back, and enjoy the road already traversed, and this is even more satisfying when you receive spontaneous comments from creative people in teams you have set up for specific projects.

In this regard, a testimonial can do a lot to see how are you perceived by others, and I can’t thank stylist  Nikki Peglow enough, for her kind words, after shooting a project in which she was given creative freedom like she has not had before.

May her words speak by themselves:


Awesome! Congrats on your success. I enjoyed very much reading your interview and looking at your images.  You are truly an inspiration to me, as one of the first “real” photo shoots I participated in when I arrived in Miami a couple of years ago, fresh out of Art and Design College and hair and makeup school. 

I had no idea you were such an accomplished photographer at that time or else I would have been even more extremely nervous!! 

I remember the kindness and graciousness you treated me with, no ego or attitude, and you let everyone have equal creative input. This was especially exciting to me at that point in my career, when I was just used to following orders. 

How ecstatic I was when I had the opportunity to style the models hair with the leaves at my own creative will, after completing the makeup!!

 Also, my first shoot doing “natural” beauty makeup, which is by far harder than an elaborate makeup! It inspired me on a continuing quest to master the technique of minimalist makeup in the glamorous over the top sea of Miami Beach. It is truly far greater of a challenge to develop a slight hand.  

Please send the photos I participated in as makeup/hair which are featured in your Fine Art Showcase Gallery 1 (Flower Beauty). I would like to include the images in my makeup portfolio as I am creating a new website.  

Thank you!   xoxox, Nicole “Nikki” Peglow makeup/hair/art/design
NOTE: some of the images of this project are available on my Fine Art Photography website:



Next week, on both Tuesday May 21st and Wednesday 22nd, from 9am till 5 PM, my NY Rep Frank Meo, aka “The Photocloser”, will be running a special event at Picture Ray Studio in Chelsea, gathering NY Creatives, Art Directors, Art Buyers and Graphic Designers, to explore the portfolios of the photographers Frank is currently representing, under the Photocloser Brand.
It is going to be a very cool moment to check my current PRINT portfolios, which will be  available on display on those days, so I strongly encourage you to take the time and visit the Showcase.
 There will be food, drinks and snacks for all attendants, and on top of it, there will be a raffle of 2 iPads just as well!!
I have prepared promotional give-away marketing materials, ( mini-books)  which will also be available at the table, along with my large scale portfolio books, so feel free to take a sample with you.
More details below:
The PhotoCloser PORTFOLIO SHOWCASE @ Picture Ray Studio Tues & Wed, May 21st & 22nd, 2013
PLEASE NOTE: This 2-day portfolio viewing event is for REVIEWERS ONLY!  Reviewers, you can come and go when you please to look at the books during either Tuesday, May 21st and/or Wednesday, May 22nd at Picture Ray Studio, have a bite to eat, and chat with whoever else is there. For more information, contact Frank Meo, at
Address: 245 West, 18th St. Ground Floor. Ph: 212-929-637
I really wish you visit the studio and take a look at my work there!