Monday, August 31, 2009

** UPDATED ** How to rip off 1,000 Photos

UPDATE: Kathryn Ellison, who was the author of this book, writes in her comments below "...The book has been cancelled, the site has been taken down, all images have been deleted from the server...", and you can read more about her position on this blog posting in her comment. She has also deleted her authorship of this book from her LinkedIn profile.

Rip Off: - noun. exploitation, esp. of those who cannot prevent or counter it.

If you wanted to get yourself 1,000 free photographs that are royalty free, and a printed catalog for ease of browsing, what would be the best way? Why, call it an "opportunity" to be published in a book, and pitch it to unsuspecting students. When submiting "up to five photos" to the proposed book "Stocked Up: 1,000 Royalty Free Photographs" you grant royalty-free rights for the "privilege" of being published. So goes the idea that author is proposing for a book being developed for How Books and Rotovision SA.

"if I could...would ya..." So begins the scam that began on used car lots and now reads like "if I could promise your photo would get published, would ya give me all rights to it....". Kristin Ellison (LinkedIn: Profile) essentially is making that offer, because she wants to sell a photography book. And, if you want to sell a photography book, what better way to maximize your sales than to give everyone who buys the book a free DVD with 1000 high resolution photographs, including an unlimited worldwide license to commercially exploit each photograph?
(Continued after the Jump)

Don’t have 1000 good photographs to include in your DVD giveaway? No problem. Just sucker a bunch of photo students into sending you their best images and granting you unlimited usage rights and sublicensing rights in exchange for “exposure” and a grand total of $0. At least, that’s the genius gameplan that “author” Kristin Ellison and her publisher How Books and Rotovision SA schemed up for their new book. Ellison, on behalf of How and Rotovision are canvassing the photo schools and encouraging photo students to submit their 5 best photographs for inclusion in the book and DVD. The sad part is, they will probably receive far more than 1000 submissions, from students who don’t yet understand that by granting unlimited rights to Rotovision, they are injecting their images into the global marketplace forever, and are forfeiting any possibility of issuing exclusive licenses in those images. Rotovision also requires that each contributor indemnifies Rotovision from any liability associated with the photographs. Meaning that if any one of the adults or children appearing in the photographs sees their likeness in an advertisement, or for example, on a Nazi web site, and sues Rotovision, the student photographer is solely liable to the models.

Further, the website that promotes this endeavor is misrepresenting things to the unsuspecting contributors. When they write
"Please note: Contributors maintain all rights to, and ownership of, all images submitted. Contributors are granting RotoVision the right to publish their images in the book and on the DVD to be used by readers in any manner they choose."
This is a definitive contradiction. You no longer own any exclusive rights to your work. You don't have the right to license exclusive use to any client, and you have no right to preclude someone from doing something objectionable with your work. The list goes on.

Here's the sales pitch, that went out to educators worldwide:
I am the author of the upcoming book “Stocked Up”, a collection of 1,000 photographs. The book will be published next year in the US by How Books, and in the UK and abroad by RotoVision SA. I am writing to you because I am in the process of soliciting images for inclusion from all types of photographers, but especially students. When I was a photography major I submitted my work to a contest and was featured in the resulting book. This was an extremely empowering event for me and gave me confidence in my work. It was a professor who let us know about the contest and made one of our term assignments be to shoot images for submission.

I would be thrilled if you would share this opportunity with your students. It is free to submit work and anyone may submit up to five images via my website The website contains all the details and necessary forms, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at any point.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.



Kristin Ellison
Stocked Up: 1,000 Rights-Free Photos

So, who exactly is Rotovision, and How Books? It can't be that this is the same How Books that publishes The Photographers Market book each year, or The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, or The Designers Guide to Marketing and Pricing, can it? Rotovision SA also has published a number of respectable books too, so it is surprising that they would be involved in something like this.

The contract you are required to sign reads, in part:
1 - I hereby assign and grant RotoVision permission to reproduce at any size the image/s submitted by me for inclusion in the Work, in all editions, co-editions, revisions, and reprints of the Work...The sole consideration for granting these rights shall be the promotional benefit to me of inclusion in the Work.

2- Contributors will not recieve complimentary copies as a result of their images being included in the book.

3 - Rotovision will have no liability over users of the DVD...Rotovision can take no responsibility for any pirating and onward sales of the images...
This, and the rest of the contract, is just plain wrong. The home page pitches you thusly -
"Just think, your work could ultimately be featured in a magazine, in a work of art, or on a greeting card, the possibilities are endless!"
Actually, the one possibility that does not exist, is for you to actually get paid by someone who sees your image, because it will be free to them. So, when it comes to earning money, the possibilities actually end - the buck does not stop here.

Interestingly enough, give this idea they propose on the website some thought:
"The more images we get to chose from the better the book will be. A better book will mean greater publicity for it (and your work) and wider distribution around the world. So tell your friends about it and get them to submit work as well."
If you're not really thinking at all, you'll tell everyone, and that would be a consistent thought process with agreeing to do this in the first place. The fact is, for every person you tell, you diminish your chances of being in the book. The "author", Kristin Ellison, is also the Editorial Director of WOWIO, having left RotoVision as Executive Editor before even a years' time, only to take up the title "author" for the first time when she was successful in pitching "Stocked Up". Ellison remains also as Editorial Director at WOWIO, who's slogan is "Free Books Free Minds". Among the books they are offering for free reading online is Susan Sontag's On Photography; Aerial: The Art of Photography from the Sky, and several black and white books by Terry Hope. Outreach to some of the authors and publishers whose material is listed online for free have not yet been returned to confirm these free offerings are legitimate or not.

So, what to do about all this? Why, write to the author and publishers to voice your displeasure. The "Author", who is better ascribed the title of either editor, or, well, you pick a colorful title, is {redacted} . RotoVision's publisher, whose name is at the bottom of the contract you must sign is April Sankey (LinkedIn: Profile) can be reached at: {redacted} . Their Commissioning Editor Isheeta Mustafi (LinkedIn: Profile) can be e-mailed at {redacted} as well. HOW Books, is a part of F+W Media, so let's start at the top with them. David Nussbaum (LinkedIn: Profile), the Chairman and CEO can be reached at {redacted} . David Blansfield (LinkedIn: Profile), the President can be reached at {redacted} . Also listed as a President is Sara Domville (LinkedIn: Profile), who can be reached at {redacted} . Stacie Berger (LinkedIn: Profile) is their Director of Strategic Communications, and can be reached at {redacted} . While it looks like RotoVision will be doing the distribution outside of the US, HOW looks to be involved in the US, and you might want to let them know how you feel about this idea that HOW Books would promulgate such a bad idea upon under-educated and ill-advised students who are ripe to exploit and have few or no tools to counter such a bad idea. Pressure from the top down on whomever is in charge of the HOW Books division might change their minds.

NOTE: We have redacted the e-mail addresses in this updated post for the author and publisher contacts, since the book has been officially canceled, and there is no longer a need to write to them.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Getty Images Splitting Sales With Celebrity Subjects on the "DL"

It seems that Getty Images may be playing fast and loose with the ethics of photojournalism these days. Getty is sharing in the sales of images of certain celebrities with the celebrities themselves, for example, in a little-known maneuver where they just happen to be in the right place at the right tim to catch a celebrity doing something, paparazzi style. They are, unfortunately, doing this on the down-low, and that's where the ethical problem comes in.

Back in March, Photo Business News wrote - Getty Images And Paparazzi Pictures (March 9, 2009) where Getty is using different brands to distinguish between "respectable photography" and "paparazzi". Since Getty and WireImage are seen by most publicists as a "white hat" wire service, equal to the AP and Reuters, Getty/Wire doesn't want to sully their reputation with gotcha paparazzi photography so they use another of their brands to take the reputation hit.

When an image is provided to the Associated Press, for example, from someone other than their staffers or as the result of a freelance assignment, their caption is clear on the source "In this handout photo provided by AEG, pop star Michael Jackson..." begins the caption for this photo, because AEG provided to all news outlets that photograph (which, interestingly enough is also a Getty Images image but AEG had the right to distribute because they were one of the contracting parties) and they do the "in this handout photo..." all the time.

When a photographer starts a fire, and then, oh, just happens to be first on the scene to make great photos, that's called a crime. However, when a celebrity says something like 'I'll tell you where I will be so you can photograph me but you have to share all the money you get from the photos with me', and then does not disclose this arrangement in the course of their "reporting", that's bad ethics.

How is this happening?
(Continued after the Jump)

Getty LA Entertainment staff Photographer Frazer Harrison may well not be in on the game, but here's how it works. Harrison is a staff photographer, and the photo credit for a staff photographer is "Fazer Harrison/Getty Images" or "Fazer Harrison/WireImage". In this example "Kim Kardashian And Kourtney Kardashian Go Shopping", the credit reads "Frazer Harrison/KA/WireImage", where the "KA" is the change in the credit that makes it possible for Getty to track the sales properly so that Kim KArdashian gets paid. Further, she can see exactly where "her" images appeared since they will be specially credited. How do we know that this particular revenue sharing is with Kim, and not Kourtney?
Why, because Kourtney has her own revenue sharing code "KK", as shown here - Kourtney Kardashian And Scott Disick Go Baby Shopping. "But how can you be so sure?" you might ask? Because if you check this link, you'll see that before they headed off to be "surreptitiously" photographed by the photographer, they had a portrait session with him using the same "KK" code. Harrison's images, however, are not the only Getty content where this is happening. When Getty's Florida staffer, Gustavo Caballero just happened upon a "sighting" of Kourtney and Khloe, his credit has the same code "Gustavo Vaballero/KK/Wire Image" - Khloe Kardashian And Kourtney Kardashian Sighting In Miami - June 18, 2009, and in this case, further, this image is billed as an "**EXCLUSIVE**", and further notes "(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply)". Clicking this link it looks like Gustavo had to spend the whole day with Kourtney and Khloe doing "sightings".

It's one thing, for example, for Brad Pitt to use Getty as the distribution channel where everyone knows that he's getting money from it (and best that he donates it to charity) when they are the first photographs of his child, however, for Getty to put these images in their "editorial" category is ethically dubious, at best, without disclosure of the deal.

Getty, however, knows how to do a proper credit. When they decided not to cover the 2009 International Indian Film Academy Awards, they used the same credit style as the AP does for the images that were essentially a promotion for that organization, with Getty serving as the conduit (and picking up all the licensing fees for the ones they distributed at the same time).

Is this phenomenon new? No. Do other celebrity photo organizations do it, sadly, yes. The key is to disclose these things and be up front about them. You might suggest that this isn't "photojournalism" so who cares? Well, when the subject is a politician (like the many Congressmen) or a businessman (like Maddoff) who is marched in and out of courtrooms and photographed on the streets, we call that photojournalism, but then when a celebrity is photographed on the street, it's not the same? They are the same, and they should be subject to the same ethical guidelines and disclosures. The only real difference is that when a politician or a businessman breaks the law, or a celebrity is out for the day on the town, it is a difference between "need to know," and "want to know."

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Not Out-Gunned, Devalued

Everytime I post something or read somewhere where something is written that is critical of amateur, pro-sumer, volunteer, or free photographers, whether these folks are in credentialed positions, getting a magazine cover or photo in an ad or newspaper, I hear some variation of " pros are just worried about getting out gunned...". Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth.

A pro knows the value of their work, and, as a result, the value of the effort they bring to the assignment. Product shot on white seamless? Seems simple, but it's not. What about transfer edges? Highlight shapes? Angle/perspective, and so on. This is one of a hundred examples I could provide. Case in point - I recently had a client drive a long distance to come to my studio for a product shot. At the conclusion of the shoot, he commented that he had no idea how much went into doing a shoot to get superior results. He expected it to take an hour for four products. It took seven hours (frankly, much of that time was product-build time). Afterwards he recognized what was involved, and definitely pleased with the results.

When someone sells a commodity for $10 that everyone else is selling for $100, it devalues that commodity. If the commodity was easily selling for $100, why would someone - anyone - sell it for $10?
(Continued after the Jump)

Photography is, however, not a commodity. Just because some people choose to devalue it to that point, treat it as such, price it as such, doesn't make it so.

Some organizations have chosen to price images, for example, by the pixel dimensions alone. This does not take into account so many things, it's just rediculous. The image of the hindenberg engulfed in flames or JFK being shot cannot be priced by the pixel. Doing so devalues the work because it does not take into account the content of those images.

Consider, for a moment, that an inventor created a product, and it costs that inventor $10 in materials and overhead, per product, to manufacture it. Following common business practices, that product will wholesale for $20 each. Following again common business practices, that product will retail for $40, and likely sell on the street for around $30. Understand, this is an example and these are generalizations.

With those figures in place, the company decides to spend $250,000 for ad space (online and in print) to market the product. It is to be your photograph, of the product looking so cool and so amazing, that is the entire ad, with a tag line "Buy it and be cool". As a result, the client sells 250,000 products. That means that the client spent $2.5M in raw materials, and netted $2.5M in profit. The retailer too grossed $2.5M as the middleman for the product, providing retail shelf-space. How much are you, the creative mind behind the image that convinced the buying public to actually buy, due? 1% of the profits? 5%? How about just 10% of the ad buy? What if your single image were one of four on the page, would you be due 0.25% or 1.25% of the profits, or 2.5% of the ad buy?

A photographer brings to an assignment an understanding of the subject and their quirks. Whether it's a sporting event, where you know how a particular player will likely act, a portrait where your subject has a duration they will be willing to sit for before their unhappiness at being photographed shows in their expressions, or food photography, where the concoctions that photograph like, say, ice cream, are almost inedible despite looking great through the cameras lens, all assignments have challenges. Can any given photographer stumble into a great photo? Sure. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile. The pro however, must get it right at a level of expectation for success that approaches that of a surgeon. The problem is, unknowning clients look at the bottom line and then ascribe equality to an amateur's work and that of a seasoned professional. In the end, the client is unaware of the risks, however, the damage of devaluing photography has been done. The client will just blame the photographer when the shoot fails, not themselves for hiring the photographer without a proven track record of success.

The collateral damage of the client choosing on price, is that photographers will feel pressure from clients to lower their prices, and some will. Then there will be more pressure, and more lowering of prices. Please understand, I am not writing this as someone who has lowered their prices (I have not), but as someone who is watching as photographers' sales reports that used to show average per-image licensing of upwards of $600 now showing those same images for similar uses averaging under $100. Further, photographers who used to earn $2,500 off an original assignment and several thousand dollars in re-sales licensing over the years are now being expected to sign away all rights (and thus all future resales) for $1,000.

In the end, not only are you devaluing your work, and those of your colleagues, you are doing damage to a profession that is a passion for most in it, and you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

I know of no photographer who feels the young upstart photographer, the amateur photographer, or even the pro-sumer will "out gun" them, but almost all of the photographers I talk to about this know that these same folks are devaluing their work. Interestingly enough, that means that the pro sees quality, capability, and talent in the images produced, and knows they are worth much more than they are being given away for.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

US Presswire "Steps In It" With MLB and Getty Images

As the boys of summer were just getting into the swing of things, US Presswire hired an unemployed Peter Toriello after he was laid off from Getty four months prior where he was in charge of the Getty's MLB relationship. USPW announced Toriello's hire as "Director of Global Sales and Business Development" on March 4, 2009. What they didn't announce was that in addition to Toriello's physical capabilities, they also obtained a valuable knowledgebase of information about how Getty was handling the MLB contract. With Getty losing the NFL to the AP, the MLB deal becomes that much more important to Getty's cache. What is in question is what potential proprietary trade secrets might Toriello have taken and/or shared with US Presswire, if any?

Not surprisingly, Toriello knows the financial cycles of the MLB teams, and he also had inside knowledge of just what Getty Images was charging MLB teams for asset management services. Each team has their own collection of wholly owned content that not only do they want marketed for revenue generation (that Getty would get a piece of, of course), but also for team uses - everything from billboards to brochures. Getty had an asset management solution that was one-stop shopping for both image licensing, but also asset management.

Was it a timing coincidence then, when Toriello contacted the teams in his new role at US Presswire, and what exactly was he offering them?

(Continued after the Jump)

Rewind a few months, and let's look at Toriello's first mis-steps. He wasted no time in demonstrating his lack of business accumen by using a quote from Michael Madrid of USA Today in his marketing materials to all of the people on his e-mail list. Below is a portion of the brochure he, as as USPW's "Director of Global Sales and Business Development" sent out:
As you can see, USA Today is quoted as saying:
“Week after week we have been continually impressed with the quality of images and their dedication to posting those images as quickly as possible. More often than not, we have found USPRESSWIRE has better quality images than the AP, Reuters or AFP… We trust their news judgment and appreciate the fine quality of photographers they have brought to their team.”
-- Michael Madrid, Photo Editor
There are three problems with the above quote, even if Madrid actually said it (which remains in question). Problem #1 is that even if Madrid did say it, he did not grant permission for it, or his name to be used in an endorsement of USPW. Problem #2 is that USA Today has a very clear policy about endorsements, and doing this violated those policies. Problem #3 is that not only did Toriello/et al use the USA Today logo in their brochure, but they also used the trademarks and implied endorsements by CBS Sports, ESPN, and others, as shown below, in that same brochure:
That brochure was accompanied by a friendly letter from Toriello:
Hello all.
I hope you’re all doing well and retaining as much of your partner base/ success as you recognized in better economic times.

I wanted you all to know I landed at a GREAT agency and have begun to make strides in developing our client base, content, marketing initiatives and partner relations. I am thoroughly excited to be a part of US PRESSWIRE and the close knit family of 250 photographers we work with.

I will be looking for any and all possibilities of where we can work together again. The corp address is Atlanta, as you can see, but I am working out of my home in NJ. It would be great to see you again. PLEASE keep in touch and please send updated contact info.
MLB was quick to object to this, and advised clubs of the MLB/Getty relationship.

This brings us up to date.

Now, just last week, Toriello again wrote to MLB clubs and offered US Presswire asset management, and MLB and Getty images were very quick to react. In response to the USPW solicitation, the MLB apparently sent out an email again reminding all the teams that Toriello is no longer with Getty, and is, in fact, with a competing entity, and encouraged each team to utilize the Getty asset management solution and reminded the teams that Getty is "the ONLY source approved for commercial use of photography."

Toriello wrote to the clubs:
Based on our earlier conversations, I'd like to get the ball rolling with our Asset Management solutions. Attached is a doc you can feel free to send around the Twins organization as budgeting time is upon us all. The numbers below are scalable to your needs. I would like to make myself available to the process of discussing this at length & how this can be an asset. The Club has some exciting opportunities ahead with the new stadium, and some of this increases the reason to look at this service, but please keep me informed of any feedback among your Club colleagues.
º Costs [twelve month contract minimum]

º $2,500 one-time fee
º Graphical interface 'skin' customization included
º Initial ingestion of wholly owned images included*
º Training included
º On-going support included
º Unlimited Users
Hosting Base Package (Up to 250G)
º $750/mo. ($3/G)
º Initial storage = approx 250,000 1MB images
º Each additional gigabyte of storage = $2.50/G (1,000 1MB images)
*If already digital w/ keywords and captioning completed

Peter W. Toriello
Director, Sales & Business Development
Fortunately, this time, Toriello didn't make the same USA Today mistake he did the first time around. Once again, MLB reminded people of the Getty relationship in a letter that was apparently sent out to all the clubs.

What Toriello is missing from all of this, is that the US Presswire access to MLB games is (or certainly was in the beginning), in large part, based upon the relationships that US Presswire President Bob Rosato had with MLB teams and executives which was, in turn, based upon his longstanding tenure as a senior photographer at Sports Illustrated. Rosato traded on that to get US Presswire off the ground, and USPW is a commercial venture that receives access only while in the good graces of the MLB.

With Getty, who pays a substantial amount of money for the exclusive commercial rights to MLB images, and who also expends a great deal of money covering MLB games, this is a colossal mistake by USPW. Getty likely will, in short order short-circuit USPW's access to many games, as MLB's good graces evaporate like dew on a hot August morning.

As the fractional revenue that USPW is generating is likely diminishing, bringing in Toriello seems like grasping at the straws of success, only to wake the sleeping giant of a Getty/MLB contract issue. I understand that Toriello was unemployed, but you don't board what looks to many like a sinking ship as the dock lines are crowded with traffic in the opposite direction. Coming from a place where atleast Getty paid $250 a game, he must have known that USPW wasn't even covering photographer expenses (in almost all cases).

While I can't support a work-for-hire deal for Getty freelancers, and think that those who accept such assignments are penny-wise and pound-foolish, they look like geniuses compared to those that partake in what amounts to free sideline fantasy seats that they justify by shooting during the game, pretending to be "one of the boys". In reality, the landscape is littered with the dashed dreams of those that were lured in by US Presswires' siren song, only to crash onto the shoals of revenue losses when no payments for months on end were forthcoming, and "promotional" giveaways of their images resulted in no revenue-positive sales in the first place.

Toriello seems to have accelerated MLB's need to address what US Presswire is getting for free, when Getty Images paid a princely sum for the rights contract. Look soon for US Presswire to be less present at MLB games moving forward.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The SEC, The AP, and Gannett Clash Over Rights

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is in a clash with the Associated Press and Gannett over the rights to images and narratives of their sporting events. Lets start out with a few things first - The SEC is a collegiate athletic league that holds sporting events on their campus, usually in closed arenas or stadiums, where a price is paid for admission to what is easily argued is "entertainment". The Associated Press is a newsgathering cooperative that works for its members to cover the world, spreading the cost of that coverage over the multiple members who get images and text that they can then publish in their papers, drawing readers. Gannett is a for-profit corporation that does the same thing for each of its individual papers.

Each entity has a profit motive. While the AP's profits may be returned to the company to cover other costs, the member schools of the SEC are looking to grow revenue for their own betterment, and Gannett is looking to grow revenue to inflate their profits.

The problem is, as outlined (here) at Editor & Publisher, is that the AP and Gannett don't like being told what/where/how/when and why they can, and can't sell pictorial depictions or narrative descriptions of the SEC entertainment events. This is not the first time that sports entertainment entities have clashed with media conglomerates and cooperatives over profit-making masquerading as entitlement "news coverage" of these entertainment events.

What, though, should a photographer learn, or take away, from this clash?
(Continued after the Jump)

The individual photographer should realize that if reuse/resale/repurposing rights weren't of value to these outlets, they wouldn't be insisting that the individual photographers give them away for every assignment, and they wouldn't be fighting so hard to keep them so they can resell them at a later date.

In the runup to this seasons' college football season, The SEC has imposed new rules on the use of content that covering media conglomerates may make for free. Let's get one thing really clear here - the AP and Gannett (and others) are paying zero dollars to the SEC to cover these events, from pre-game to post-game. In an era when there was no cable television, and all sports scores and highlights came from the newspaper, all sports entertainment had to give a free pass to those who were making pictures and writing stories. That era is over.

In August of 2008, ESPN paid $2.25 Billion for whatever TV rights CBS did not already have, for 15 years. Just prior to that, CBS paid $800 million for a 15 year deal. $3 billion dollars for 15 years equates to $200,000,000 per year in valuation, much of which is attributable to the SEC football valuation.

Thus, when you're paying $200M per year, it would stand to reason that you would object to a newspaper posting their own video and audio game highlights on their own websites, especially when those websites make it less likely for a fans eyeballs to visit the ESPN or CBS websites. It would also stand to reason that you would be objecting when newspaper reporters are liveblogging the game, which would also diminish the likelihood of people listening to CBS or ESPN radio, or getting their own ad-driven blog feeds.

Further, photographs are being restricted from being sold beyond day-to-day coverage needs. In other words, covering media conglomerates can send a photographer, and provide those images to their papers, subscribers, or member newspapers regarding coverage of that game. However, these same conglomerates can't cut into the control and resale possibilities that the SEC would have of images from a particular game by selling images or stories themselves.

Another interesting point is that, in exchange for the AP/et al getting free access to generate intellectual property (i.e. images) for distribution to their members, the SEC need not fully employ a photo staff to cover each game since they are requiring the rights to use the images from all covering entities (AP/Gannett/etc) for whatever they want. Thus, if you are an SEC school photographer, you will likely not need to travel with the team as much, since every photographer/organization who signs the contract will be the reason you aren't going.

Once again, let's return to the freelance photographer. I want to make sure you get this point - when you're covering any assignment, and you justify to yourself why you signed away all your rights to images from the assignment, remember that when the AP was told that they could cover and use the images the next day for stories on the game, but that they could not resell as stock those same images you made for them and gave them the rights to, they said no. They objected, because they know that your images you gave them are valuable to resell and repurpose.

What about audio and video value? I know of many a colleague who has been asked by publications across the country "hey, can you get me some audio when you're not shooting, and also, since you have that camera that can shoot video, please shoot me some wide stadium video too." And then when you ask for additional compensation for that, they say "hey, it's just audio for the slideshow online..." or "we just need some video for the opener of your still gallery" and then suggest that they are already paying you, and thus it's really not worth any more, that, maybe, it actually IS worth more. Heck, it makes the galleries more engaging. Oh, it makes you feel like you were there! Hey! Isn't that what ESPN and CBS paid $3,000,000,000 for?

The networks make money off the commercials, just as the newspapers make money off the ads that are adjacent to the sports photos. The fact that newspapers got a free ride for this long is remarkable. The SEC (and every other sports league) has put up with free "news coverage" for as long as it suited their needs for free publicity. Now, they are not beholden to the AP/Gannett/et al, and media conglomerates are paying for the right to distribute the content that is created at these events.

Let me be very clear here though, I am not saying that anyone should sign away what the SEC is demanding. No organization should give away the intellectual property they create at these events any more than the individual freelance photographer should sign away their intellectual property rights when working for these organizations. Just as I would suggest to a freelance photographer that they not sign these bad deals and walk away, so should these organizations. Or, perhaps these organizations could enter into a licensing deal with the SEC to share a portion of the resale proceeds, just as they should fairly do for their freelancers. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Any organization that demands all rights/work-for-hire from its' independent contractors with the intent of repurposing/profiting from the content produced, shouldn't be so surprised when other entities insist on the same from them.

At a time when the AP is not completely prepared or ready to take over the NFL contract from Getty Images, this could actually work out to their advantage. They were already going to be understaffing the NFL games, so perhaps the planned cadre of SEC photographers can be dispatched to the NFL? For AP photo-wise, this could be a good thing.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No, You're Not Entitled To Anything

As my mother used to say, there are no guarantees in life, except death and taxes .A subset of those non-guarantees, is "nobody owes you anything, and you're not entitled to anything either."

Generally speaking, I think the last generation that thought they had to actually earn something is generation X. Generation Y, The millennials, and the youth of today, believe that everybody should get a ribbon, there are no winners and no losers, and you're owed a job once you graduate.

There are a few universal truths, so let's enumerate a few:

1) There will always be winners and losers. Period

2) Graduation from school prooves one thing - you can finish something you started. Beyond that, you'll have to demonstrate hard work, commitment, and a willingness to pay your dues.

(Continued after the Jump)

I don't care if you're God's gift to landscape artistry, sports, fashion, or news photography, or somehow have a perspective no one has ever seen before. You still must pay your dues. You still must do hard work.

If you somehow have a reflex that puts you next in line to take Nemo's place in the Matrix, and you apply that to your trigger finger and focus ring to minimize lag time to take the best ball-on-bat/puck-in-frame/etc images, you don't just get called up to the majors right away. You have to prove you can do all of the other things related to it, like writing a solid caption, knowing the game and all the players, and being able to transmit on deadlines that are often unreasonable. That means starting in the bush league, youth sports, and so on.

If you have a nose for news, and somehow put yourself where the news is about to happen (no arsonists need apply) you might get some attention if you always have the flames licking up the side of a building when the rest of the photo dogs turn up and capture just the smouldering embers. If you can listen to a police scanner and know what's happening in real time, and not have any other assignments to get to before the perp walk, you might make a few good images. That said, even if the paper publishes your work from these spot news "gets", they don't owe you a staff job, or anything other than fair compensation for your images. They have no idea how you'd work on other assignments, or if you can be the generalist they need in addition to being Johnny-on-the-spot.

Fashion is it's own world, and to quote Heidi Klum, "you're either in, or you're out." Fashion is a fickle bird, and not even the best designers survive year to year. One year your work is all over Saks Fifth Avenue, the next, it's crowding the floors at Off Saks. Same for fashion photography. Everyone thinks it's glamorous, and everyone wants to photograph the pretty girls. However, who's photographing the handsome men? There's about a 50/50 split in the population, but you don't see any "will do trade-for-print with male models" ads. All of the ads for products I saw when I just read the latest issue of a photo trade magazine showed women as models - faces painted sliver/gold/bright colors. Yes, I know that sells cars, tools, and (atleast for men) makes the world go 'round and has started more than one war. However, you should not only be able to demonstrate good female model photography, but also male model photography. More importantly, though, is your ability to actually handle a shoot where models are present and being paid. (Models getting paid for modeling, is, after all, their ultimate goal - then you can call yourself a professional model.) Managing the catering, wardrobe, lighting assistants, props, and so on (not to mention the on-set client) takes time and a completely different skill set than knowing how a model (male or female) looks their sexiest. Annie Liebovitz, interviewed recently for Time (here) said "if something goes wrong with a photo shoot, it's my fault. It's up to me, it's my responsibility...if I don't get a good picture, I don't blame my subject, I blame me." Don't look at fashion photographs and in a smart-alecy way suggest that somehow you could do it better. Yes, I know that the proof is in the photograph, but managing everything that it takes to get to the point of that photograph as a final result is almost always a bigger part than closing the shutter at the right time.

It was once wisely said "luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

Even the Declaration of Independence did not say you were entitled to happiness. It said it would protect your "pursuit of happiness".

One of the challenges that face "The Greatest Generation" and the Baby-Boomers is their belief that they are (or were, as it now known in most cases) entitled to a lifelong job. It was (mistakenly) assumed that, for example, if you went to work for IBM or the big bank on the corner, that you had a job for life. You'd work for a few decades, your commitment to them was reciprocated by their commitment to you, and you'd not get fired or laid off, save for gross incompetence. Today though, those companies are laying off the aging (and expensive) knowledgebase for cheaper workers. The problem is, those cheaper workers are coming with the baggage of an expectation of entitlement. They expect to be coddled and fawned over during their annual review, and told how great they are even when they're not.

Just because you read your the manual of your camera and know all its features and have all sorts of custom functions preset, or can follow-focus in manual down the playing field or up the catwalk, or even can light a subject like Rembrant, you're not entitled to have your images grace the covers of the world's greatest magazines. Heck, you're not even owed a drop of ink on the inside pages, or even guaranteed traffic to your online postings of said photos. Hey, you might get some "atta-boys" from the rest of the entitlement crowd that you convince to visit your corner of the internet, but then you're expected to go and hand out the same "awesome photo!" accolades to those, like a moebius strip of kudos, never ending, and never getting anywhere.

There are three podiums at the Olympics for each contest, and only one winner. Second and third are the runners-up, incase the first place winner cheated. The rest of the competitors don't get ribbons, and the only people who say they did a good job are their friends, family, and those that get paid to pay those type of compliments, lest they lose their job. These competitors know they must go back, and try again and try harder if they want to succeed.

From year to year, almost nobody remembers who won which Oscar, let alone who the losers were. Heck, even the presenters, admonished to say "and the Oscar goes to..." but more often than not say "and the winner is..." (belying how they really know things are) can't remember who won from year to year. Each year, the actors and actresses vying for the Oscar slog it out hoping to win once again, knowing that it's hard work acting, and if they want to keep doing it in the fickleness of Hollywood they better work at it.

The landscape is littered with the roadkill of those who think they are entitled or owed success in their chosen field. The sooner those with that attitude change, and really buckle down and do the hard work necessary to achieve success, the sooner they will achieve that success.

Success, real success, long-term sustainable success, is achieved by hard work day in, and day out. Don't rest on your laurels, lest they become the laurels of someone else. Sports legend Pat Riley once said "When a milestone is conquered, the subtle erosion called entitlement begins its consuming grind. The team regards its greatness as a trait and a right. Half hearted effort becomes habit and saps a champion.” What have you done today on your own personal road to become a champion in your field?

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

eBay Unreasonably Exploits Your Photos To Sell Other Auctions

Say a year ago you were selling an XBox, a Dynalite pack, or an image of jesus in your chewing gum. eBay has those images stored on their servers (still), and unless you opt out by the end of August, your photo could be used to sell someone elses' widget.

In other words, all of the trouble you went through evenly lighting a subject, choosing the right point of focus, and so on, can be co-opted by eBay to sell someone elses' product. At first, you can expect eBay to do this for free, but over time, as with "enhanced listings", and so on, you'll likely have to pay a fee "for the convenience eBay is giving you of not having to take the photo..." or some other silly reason.

What do you, the photographer get, in exchange for their co-opting of your photo?
(Continued after the Jump)

PHOTO CREDIT, OF COURSE! eBay writes in response to the faq "Is there an advantage for me if my photos are chosen for the eBay product catalog?", answering "If we choose your photos to represent a product in the eBay product catalog, you'll get an attribution including your user ID and a link to your profile page whenever your photo is used on a product details page. This can give you extra exposure to a larger audience of shoppers."


So, I am B&H photo, selling a Nikon D3 kit, and I've paid my employee to photograph it. Now, some schmuck in nowheresville can use that image to sell their own D3. As I said before, eventually, for a fee you can expect. Just what B&H wants, people they're competing with using their own photos to sell against them.


What's worse, is that this is an "opt-out" scenario, meaning that unless you take action and opt-out of this, eBay gets to use them. Further, if you opt-out AFTER September 1, anything that was already selected they get to use. In other words, you may not take away the permission your inactions granted, ever.
To learn more, read here, and to opt-out, click here.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Silly Rabbit - PicApp's Got Problems

PicApp, seen by some as a a solution to online revenue streams, just doesn't get it. Started by the same people that created PicScout (we wrote about PicScout here - Delusions of Grandeur, 5/27/09) - the model they're using of "free content that is ad supported" is a tried-and-true method of breaking into a crowded market. However, the next step is that once you have market share, then offering a "for a fee" version that does not have ads, and PicApp just seems to fail on several levels even in the initial offerings (which they will no doubt defend, since they are stating PicApp is still in "beta").

PicApp makes money off the photos by inserting ads into the image area. PicApp hold their application out as a legal way to post free photos from sources like Getty Images, Corbis, and Splash News, on personal blogs (Currently, you can't include your own images into PicApp to monetize them). Other images in thumbnail format are also overlaid on top of the main image, sometimes with problematic results (like the illustration above). They see hope to be able to then intersperse, overlay, or insert various ads into the window onto your blog where you can view the photo, and in turn, they earn a profit from those ads, presumably for more than it costs them for the license to show the image(s), with (or without) a split with the copyright owners. On the PicApp faq, one of the questions is "Can I take out the advertisement? " and the answer is "No. Please keep in mind, the advertisements are inserted so that we can continue providing you with such high-end, up-to-the-minute content."

The PicApp Terms & Conditions (here - terms and conditions), as Andy Beard (here) points out "that it is impossible to use these images and still syndicate your content within those terms and conditions", and further, it's a Javascript application, which means that it doesn't make it into RSS feeds.

A year ago, Getty alledgedly granted a blanket use of all the images in their library for PicApp's use, however this was supposed to be restricted to images that Getty "wholly owned", and not those of Getty contributors, where Getty would have to pay the contributors. Yet, that wasn't the case, and Getty images' non-wholly-owned images were making it into the PicApp application.
(Continued after the Jump)

Inquiries with sources familiar with the PicApp dealings suggest that perhaps they don't have the deals they say they do. For example, The PicApp service is supposedly to be used only on "personal blogs" so they are not allowed to use the PicApp capabillities on big media company websites or blogs, like MSNBC or CNN, because - surprise surprise, that would encroach on Getty/Corbis/etc deals where they are making money, and where PicApp would be a sort of iStockphoto canibalization of those revenue streams if they allowed PicApp onto those platforms.

Is, for example, this use on the "Chicago Now" website (here) a personal blog? Not hardly, since there are ads on it - yet on the PicApp faq, it says "Will the PicApp image work on a rite with Google AdSense?" the answer is "Absolutely! The two are unrelated." Yet, there is a difference between "will it work" and "am I allowed to do it". One of the other faq questions is "Can I make money with PicApp?" and the answer is am ambiguous "Coming soon, so stay tuned! " However, a blog with ads, whether from Google AdSense, or any other money-making features, would likely be precluded from using PicApp, because it's not a personal blog. Both the Chicago Now blog, The Fox Atlanta channel (here), and MVN NBA Fantasy Sites (as shown here) illustrate just how horrible the PicApp thumbnails overlays are, interferring with the image content.

On PicApps' own blog (here) one commenter writes "Can you guys have a smaller Google text link ad as opposed to the big honking ugly one?" Another blogger writes (here) "I was kinda shocked to see that it embedded an adsense ad right below the pic! I guess I wouldn’t have minded this – had I known in advance. But I hate things that are done “sneakily”, if you know what I mean. I can’t find any mention of the adsense ad anywhere on the PicApp site, and the plugin certainly does NOT say “ad supported”." Once these concerns were raised by the blogger, he suggested that the PicApp previews which were misleading, would be more clear in the future, and supposedly an "opt out" of the money-making side of things, but I've not seen that, to date. Further, with Google shutting down their Video AdSense program a few months ago (because of integration and disappointing results), so too is AdSense delivering lackluster results as webmasters are grumbling about revenues being down. More than one site has reported similar to this - Google cost per click declines (here) with a 13% decrease.

PicApp is poorly designed, with questionable licensing explanations vis-a-vis personal-versus-commercial blogs and sites, and is relying on AdSense to support this "free" application. Where is PicApp getting the money for such a large "blanket" agreement with Getty/Corbis/et al?

PicApp's sister company PicScout generates revenues from two sources - spidering the web looking for infringements and delivering to you those results, called Image Tracker. From their faq "How much does the Image Tracker service cost?", where they answer "Our pricing model is based on a number of different metrics. If you're goal is to monetize the images found (either by licensing or unauthorized use claims), we charge based on a percentage of the recovered revenues. If your objective is only for analytics, we charge based on each qualified match. We also charge a minimum fee in case the other revenue targets are not met. Most of the time, our prices are determined once we understand your business needs and the mutual opportunity. If you have more than 30,000 images and are interested in talking about what we can do for you, please contact us."

So, Getty/Corbis/et al fall into that 30k+ category as far as image count is concerned, but what about the percentage of recovered revenues? This is the second source of income for PicScout, with sources putting the percentage as high as 60% in some cases. So, if your image gets infringed, PicScout will pursue the claim and collect, say $10,000,and keep as much as $6,000. Clearly, Getty/et al don't need that aspect of the service, but they do have image assets that could be made available to populate PicApp. Could it be that PicScout gets to tout that they have Getty and Corbis as a client (thus enticing others by this endorsement by Getty/Corbis), Getty and Corbis get free tracking of uses and possible infringements, and PicApp gets access to all the images to populate and start up the service with AdSense revenues being split with the agencies? If this is the case, it's certainly appears very incestuous. Getty can ill afford the offspring of such a union gone bad.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Enter The Efficiency Experts

More than one person has brought to our attention that Bain & Company has been hard at work at Getty Images. For the most of the world, Bain & Co is unknown, but in the financial and private equity world, calling in Bain & Co is like applying part nitros-oxide and part spoiler to your hoopty. In other words, for those along for the ride, it's part good, part bad.

Bain promotes on their website (here) that [they] " our clients...find new ways to lower costs..." and "Many media companies will need to make major organizational changes" (emphasis theirs) Their home page notes "We help management make the big decisions: on strategy, operations, mergers & acquisitions, technology and organization."

What does that mean for Getty?
(Continued after the Jump)

Well Bain consultants were looking over the shoulders and taking notes while Getty photographers and editors were busy covering the Teen Choice Awards last weekend. I can just imagine what the Bain consultants were writing. Maybe silly things like "...photographers in head on position must shoot fewer images..." or "...photographers in cutaway positions must focus more on audience reaction..." especially when there seems to be no images of Vanessa Hudgens reacting to Dane Cook's slight of her.

Bain's focus is on increasing the valuation of a company and there are a number of underperforming segments of the Getty operation. By doing so, Getty's owners, Heller & Friedman, will know which departments can be re-organized (meaning, staff reductions) and which should be closed altogether (ex: LA offices). Once the best performing divisions are identified (no surprise, iStockphoto will be among them) then H&F can begin shopping around those, and closing others.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Worth The Read: Mendelsohn's "The Lessons of Lindsay"

Supremely regarded photojournalist Matt Mendelsohn makes the push to get a story he's passionate about out, and it's well worth a read. The back story on this, is that it was scheduled to run in a national newspaper magazine, but did not because the paper was afraid it would scare advertisers away. During a time when there is so much discussion about Sdlf Magazine (more here) photoshopping Kelly Clarkson thirty-pounds lighter, justified as (so what if we made her thin on the cover?; we're just trying to help Kelly Clarkson "be her best") this is a great rebuttal. These old pillars of publishing, which are now evidencing why they are losing readership, have been trumped by the online community (once again) with a thoughtful and well written piece by Matt - The Lessons of Lindsay.

It's too late for major traditional news media outlets to "get it", but for those committed to telling the story, there is a huge potential readership to be had, and this piece should go viral for so many reasons.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MacWorld Cnver - From Start to Finish

What goes into a "simple" cover of two iPhones for MacWorld? Watch it here from start to finish:

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

** TIME SENSITIVE ** - Today, 4p East/1p West - Free Webinar on Trends of Successful Photographer Websites

Well well, the folks at PhotoShelter are at it again, with a free webinar, TODAY, 4pm EAST/1pm WEST. The link is here, and here are the details:

Emerging trends in successful photographer websites.
Build a website that photo buyers will love. PhotoShelter surveyed 550+ commercial and editorial photo buyers to get the scoop on what can make or break your photography website. Use the results to help you sell more photography. PhotoShelter co-founder Grover Sanschagrin will review the survey findings and discuss the designs and features that photobuyers care about most. Don't buy or design a website without this info!
So, if you want insights/guidance on how to do it, or get it done right, don't miss their presentation! Register here for free now.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Conveying Your Value to a Client

with client budgets tight these days what can you do to convince them that you are worth it? Lowering your prices is an Ill-advised plan because those clients will expect the lower rates when things get better.

Instead promote the VALUE you will bring to the assignment . By emphasizing value with phrases like " our approach to this assignment will bring real value to your customers' perception of your widget..." or "the value we will bring to this assignment will result in images that will make your prospective client more aware of the benefits of your service..."

(Continued after the Jump)

You can also emphasize the long term benefits of your work. Conveying to a client in your own words concepts like "long after the sweet fragarence of the floral arrangements had faded, photographs that stink will be a reminder of where costs should not be cut" or "four color press releases won't make up to photographs that miss the moment..."

Let me stress- these are phrases that illustrate concepts and using that language might come across with the unspoken perception of you being " how dare he tell me how to spend my money..."

In the end, you need to convey to your prospective client that you are the best choice for the assignment and right now in a cost-conscious economy, emphasizing your services as valuable will help them make the right choice-you.

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Obama Image Copyright Infringement Issues

To be blunt - NORML's use of the Lisa Jack image of Barack Obama is, in this author's opinion, plain and simple, copyright infringement. Photo District News did two great pieces on this - From Hope to Dope: Another Obama Poster Dispute and Getty: We'll Fight NORML's Copyright Infringement, so I won't re-hash what they wrote here.

What I will say about the image at right, is that the poster is an illustration SURROUNDING a photographic image. Unlike Shepard Fairey's claim of fair-use and derivative use, where (Fairey claims) the resulting image was so significantly different that other than angle of view expression/subject, the resulting work was not substantial enough that the original photographer has a claim (this is the inaccurate position of Shepard Fairey), this use has a hole in the center they filled with a photograph. Other than applying a green duotone tint to the original black and white, it's a photograph. They added in a swirl of smoke, but it's a photo, plain and simple.
(Continued after the Jump)

Since Getty is quoted in the PDN piece as saying "will aggressively pursue this matter as the copyright representative of the artist" the question at hand will be the soundness of Getty's copyright registration. If they simply included the Jack images in their own registration process, as a part of a "database addition" registration (which some agencies have done in the past), where they register multiple photographers' work in a single registration, that will be a big problem. If, however, Jack had registered the work herself, Getty will have substantial ground to stand on. The strength of this case will test Getty's (and other agencies) copyright registration procedures, if it goes to court, which is looks like it might. If Getty does go to court, and loses over a questionable registration, it could well signal open season on infringements on Getty and other agencies. Look to Getty to try very hard to settle this case quietly.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pushing Pixels: $5 Idiocy

Photography should not be sold by the pixel. Images are not the same as selling sugar by the pound. Yet, as if the stupidity of Getty's $49 imagery wasn't enough (more on that here), Getty Images is now selling images by pixel dimensions. To give you some perspective - below is the full frame dimensions of a file from a Canon EOS 1DS Mark III. Then, in black, is a 170 pixel by 170 pixel box, representing what Getty Images will license for $5 if it's a royalty-free image, and $15 if it's a rights-managed image.

All this, and more, can be discerned from the Getty Images site, here.

(Continued after the Jump)

It's been just over a year since Getty announced the completion of their being acquired by Hellman & Friedman (here), and there has been little good in their press releases about Getty Images proper, and a lot about deep-and-cheap deals with Flickr, JupiterMedia, and now this. Oh, and don 't forget all the layoffs and office closings. Look in the coming year for H&F to start shuttering underperforming divisions and quietly looking for buyers of the more profitable divisions. Heck, with Google trying to grow their news offerings, maybe Getty Images' news photographers will begin seeing "/Google News" after their names in the not too distant future?

Whatever Gettys' future holds, pricing by the pixel is just sheer idiocy.

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MLK, Michelangelo, Street-Sweepers, & You

One of the sentiments that has always stayed with me has been this quote, from Martin Luther King Jr:
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
Today, on assignment in Disney's California Adventure, I witnessed this first-hand. The gentleman I photographed here fit that charge to a T. I watched as he mopped the concrete walks. A stubborn stain he spritzed with his spray bottle, and his holster held other tools necessary to do the job as if he were Michelangelo. He even cared about his appearance as he was doing it, and he also worked during lulls in the crowd so his moping didn't interfere with the parks' guests. I watched for awhile, impressed by his overall approach as well as the details he cared about.

Next is Rutger Hauer, who played Roy Batty in one of my all time favorite movies Blade Runner. "The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long", a reference to Roys' longevity and impending death.

Last up for the day is the tortise and the hare, and that tale of slow and steady over fast and corner cutting is a well known tale. These and so many other parables are guideposts to a future of success in this field.
(Continued after the Jump)

In photography, there are no real short-cuts to success. Yes, there are lucky breaks, yet often, those that experience those do not have the foundations laid for continued success, and often falter.

I'll recount for you a scenario from several years back, to illustrate this point. I had an intern working with me, and this intern had only been in Washington a month or so, and we were photographing the first lady. I was in a holding room doing meet-and-greet images, while the intern was tasked with holding a spot in the room where the press conference was taking place. During that time, my college graduated intern was talking with a young photographer, trying to make idle conversation to pass the time. My intern learned that another young photographer there had dropped out of college to shoot. When this photographer was asked why he would do that, his response was "I'm doing pretty well here, don't ya think? I am covering the first lady!" All in all, the conversational tone was him looking down on my intern and trying to promote his station in life. Fortunately for him, I learned a year or so later, he had returned to school to finish his degree. (Smart move there, if you're reading this and recognize yourself!)

Yes, in a short period of time you can be covering important people doing important things, but if doing so means giving up your rights to your images as a freelancer, or accepting a pay structure that is unfair and non-sustaining, then, as with Roy Batty, you may "burn twice as bright but half as long" and you'll flame out.

Returning to the street sweeper - if you're working for a small paper, a weekly, or doing what some might consider a menial photography-related job, take the sweepers' approach. Do your job well. Earn your respect. Shine brightly as a photographer if you are doing kindergarten snapshots or pet portraits, and you'd rather be photographing CEO's or globe-trotting on an important news story. More than once I've heard of photographers just starting dismiss immediately the notion of working for a small town newspaper, thinking it beneath them and instead believing they were owed a spot at a bigger named publication. Further, far too many photographers believe they are owed something, and that not only should they get a second chance when they screw up, but that they deserve a second chance. They also believe that it is their God-given right to be the next New York Times staff photographer. When you catch your lucky break, if you want to maintain the momentum that the break created, remember this - luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Licensing News Photos Is Expensive"

Stephen Colbert suggests that a cost-saving effort on his show would be to reduce image licensing, saying "licensing news photos is expensive", and suggests that childs' play would better illustrate some of his stories.

Seems like maybe a few microstockers in Pelosi's San Francisco district should be shooting some stock this week and cutting a deal with Colbert, no?

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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ThinkTank Multimedia Bags - First Look

ThinkTank has introduced a new line of Multimedia bags, and we had a chance to put them through their paces. We really like them - here's a look:

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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