15 Mar 2008 10 Things You Didn’t Know About iStockalypse

As I’m in Buenos Aires, the good people at iStockphoto invited me along to Che’Lypse (the slightly cheesy Argentinean reference for the current iStockalypse) as an observer. These are exclusive contributor only events, so to get an inside look was indeed a privilege.

Here’s 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the iStockphoto shooting events:

1. You Get a T-shirt!

A new t-shirt is designed and produced for each iStockalypse. Sometimes you get one when you’re not even a participant! That’s me wearing mine below.

Garth Johnson interviewing Lee Torrens2. It’s Well Documented

iStockphoto VP of Business and Community Development, Garth Johnson, interviews visitors, participants and local suppliers throughout the day for internal-use video. The video cameras keep rolling between interviews, covering the action for the entire day.

3. It’s a Lot of Organization!

Participants shoot for three days and each day involves a new location, new models, 15+ model releases, wardrobe, makeup, lighting equipment, catering, documentary videographers, and of course, printing lots of t-shirts. Add to that all the complexities of foreign countries and foreign languages and it’s easy to be impressed by how smoothly it runs.

4. Inspectors Attend as Creative Directors

iStockphoto currently has over 90 inspectors from all around the world. They choose volunteers from this pool with appropriate languages to attend iStockalypse events. They don’t shoot, but act as “creative directors” assisting with the shoots and translating for models and other locals. There’s a pre-shoot day for the staff and inspectors to shoot so they don’t miss out entirely.

5. They’re Very Frequent

iStockphoto are running six full iStockalypse events this year. For many attendees this was their fourth or fifth event. Some of those use their exclusive iStockphoto earnings to finance the trips, which is a perfect combination if your hobbies are photography and travel and you earn enough to fly internationally every two months.

6. You Learn A Lot

When observing so many photographers shooting different scenes with different equipment, it’s impossible not to learn anything. Not only can you learn a lot about technical aspects of photography, but you see how 30 different photographers relate to models and how their responses impact the shots. There’s no tutorials for that. Education is one of the primary objectives of the iStockalypse events and participants confirm that the objective is well met.

7. Same Location, Same Models, Different Shots

Mlenny shooting model Manuela BrunoWhen I first figured out how the shooting worked (attendees split into small groups and rotate through five or so scenes throughout the day) I thought they’d all produce the same shots. Upon closer inspection and inquiry I discovered that’s not the case. Each photographer repositions the models and the lighting, shoots with a different style, with a different camera, and different camera settings. The variety shots produced from a single scene is quite impressive.

8. It’s Inspirational

Sometimes you just need to see it being done to know you can do it. I couldn’t setup a shoot like that, but seeing the primary ingredients of location, models and lights helped me realize it’s not so far out of reach. I was inspired to get started shooting people and filled my task list with lots of research, shopping and coordinating. More than one attendee told me they now primarily shoot models after having had their first such experience at a previous iStockalypse.

9. There’s Also MiniLypses and Training Days

MiniLypses are small versions of iStockalypses supported by iStockphoto but not attended by iStockphoto staff. Training Days are something that iStockphoto are currently talking about. They will be single-day events where contributors who haven’t yet sold enough photos to qualify for exclusivity will be able to attend and learn about technical aspects of photography.

10. You Can See all iStockalypse Photos

Simply head to the Lightboxes section of the iStockphoto website and search for “lypse“. There’s a lightbox for most iStockalypse events, so you can browse through the images from all contributors who attended each one. iStockphoto will soon be adding links to every iStockalypse lightbox from the iStockalypse website.

Thanks iStockphoto for the invitation. Check out the Che’lypse lightbox here.

  • Matt Antonino
    Posted at 17:31h, 16 March Reply

    I’ve gotta get to one of these someday when I’m submitting to Istock again. 😉

  • chemc
    Posted at 21:31h, 16 March Reply

    Great read… brings back nice memories of the events ive attended… 😀

  • Ivar Teunissen
    Posted at 17:01h, 17 March Reply

    It was good having you around Lee, hope you enjoyed the wrap up party. Those last photoshows always amaze me, to see all that work we put in it, converted into those superb images, is worth every drop of sweat 🙂

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 00:39h, 18 March Reply

      Hey Ivar,

      I sure did enjoy that wrap up party. Particularly the tequila shots you bought us! Indeed, the photos were impressive, and I’m looking forward to seeing them come up on the website for a closer look.

      Thanks for all your sharing and encouragement, and I love your Flickr portfolio!


  • Ivar Teunissen
    Posted at 07:48h, 21 March Reply

    Haha not a problem Lee 🙂

    Yeah the lightbox will be even more amazing..can’t wait to see those files coming through the queue! Should be good!

    Once more, not a problem, glad there was something I could share 🙂 Thanks! I’m going to release a new website the 1st of april, which should be easier to update…cause my last one was a bit outdated haha

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