Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Find A Photographer - iPhone Edition

Need to find a photographer for your assignment? The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) introduces its' Find A Photographer (FAP) iPhone application making amazingly easy to locate, from within the palm of your hand, photographers all over the country. The application is free, and instantly connects to a photographers' ASMP profile online, including their portfolio. Let's take a walk through the application:

Searching for "photographer" on the iPhone app store, "Find A Photographer" is currently the top result. Clicking on that, to learn more, and you see this:

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Once downloaded (for free), the entry screen, with the map of the US attractively integrated with an image of an eye (courtesy of Hermann+Starke) and the ASMP logo is the first indication that this is a clean and professional application.

Following the splash screen above, you immediately see are presented with search options for location, specialty, and even by name, as below:

Clicking "New Search, connects, in real-time, to the ASMP database, searching for photographers that meet the criteria.

Here, the search results are returned. In this search, I am the fifth listing. I can't discern how the listing results order is determined. It's not alphabetical, and multiple searches for the same specialty returned the same results, so it would be interesting to learn how to optimize your listing to appear higher.

By clicking in the photographer's entry, their contact information, and profile comes up, scrollable in my case, since the profile is longer than one screen.

Clicking on the "View Portfolio" button at the bottom, and the images are loaded, again, in real-time, from the ASMP member directory online.

Once loaded into the app, you are able to browse/view images in the portfolio just as easily as you would browse images in your own photos application, and your captions are included below the image.

Once you close the portfolio, at the bottom of the photographer's listing, you can click "add to favorites", and here's the favorites listing.

If you're looking for someone that is a retail operation, or studio, and you need to actually go there, the application has a "map" feature, that shows you not only where you are (blue dot) but also the location and address of the photographer's business.

The application is seamless, easy to use, and I pray, will be a download that photo editors and art directors who get those late-night or on-the-road calls from their editors, will use to find a photographer when their rolodex is either empty or unavailable.

Hats off to ASMP for their thoughtful and well-designed application!

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.

The Value of ORIGINAL Assignment Photography

In only the way that Jon Stewart can, the value of a client commissioning ORIGINAL photography for a campaign is underscored in this brief clip, where Jon Stewart, while skewering major organizations that use microstock from sources like iStockphoto, also slam those who are selling out for $300 in perpetuity:

Thank you, Jon Stewart!
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Monday, September 28, 2009

On Hiring A Wedding Photographer

For once, someone in the business of providing services to weddings that is NOT a photographer writes about what is needed when hiring a photographer to photograph your wedding. All to often, a writer who has no knowledge of what it means to be in the room for hours on end, behind the scenes, and so on, believes they have captured the essence of being a wedding photographer and what that means - and most importantly, what a prospective couple should look for.

Evan Reitmeyer writes on his blog, in an article titled Hiring a Wedding Photographer (928/09), about just what the bride and groom should be looking for, by not only asking photographers in the DC and Baltimore areas about what you should watch out for, but he also filters those answers through his BS-meter so that you are not getting marketing gobbly-gook, but rather, a real and thus very helpful answer.

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He gets good answers to these questions:
Why is wedding photography so expensive?

If a couple is on a specific budget, what are some ways they can get the most for their money?

Each photographer handles the rights to their photos differently. Can you explain the differences?
And poses these questions as well:
What are the differences between the major styles of wedding photography?

What exactly does “wedding photojournalism” mean?

How important is it to meet the photographer before you hire them?

How important is it to find a photographer that’s a good match in terms of personality, or is liking their photos enough?

Are there any advantages of digital photography over film? Are there any disadvantages?

How important is it for a photographer to be familiar with the ceremony or reception site?

What are the advantages of having a “second shooter” to assist the photographer?

Every couple has a “shot list” for family photos, but what are some unique things they can do besides that?

What’s the most efficient way to get formal photos completed before the reception?

What if the bride and groom really don’t want to see each other before the ceremony?

What kind of advice do you give to couples to prepare for an engagement session?

What are your thoughts on the current trends in wedding photography, and where do you see things going?
In addition, they include a good list of questions to ask a wedding photographer. Evan wrote a great piece - thanks Evan!

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.

Simpsons Did It

Well, the Simpsons are always chock-full of humor, and here's a few seconds of humor at the expense of the paparazzi (but atleast they're compensated!):

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hey San Francisco - Monday Night - Don't Miss It!

As a native Californian who used to watch the sun set over San Francisco, I wish I was home and could ferry over to the city tonight (Monday) to attend the Momenta slideshow and party with David Alan Harvey. Here are the details:

Momenta Workshops Presents A Night with David Alan Harvey

Join legendary Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey and Momenta for a slideshow and party celebrating the American Family. Bring friends, colleagues and co-workers and join us for great photos from our workshop, great music and a great party!

Cash bar with beer, wine and drink specials starting at $3.00.

Where: Coda Jazz Club, 1710 Mission Street @ Duboce
Two blocks from the Mission and 16th BART station, 4 Blocks from the Van Ness Muni station or the number 49 bus line runs right by the bar.

When: Monday, Sept. 28 - 6:00 p.m. until closing!
Doors open at 6:00 with the slideshow at 7:00.

Contact: or 415-551-2632.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

PhotoPlus Expo 2009 - Your Best Plan of Action

PhotoPlus Expo is fast approaching, and there are a ton of seminars to see, and registration is open. We feel that there will always be resources to learn about lighting and software, so instead, we'll give you the same "Best Course of Action" for all three days that we did last year for your business-side of things. However, last year, we gave you one recommendation, this year, we'll give you a few alternate recommendations. Our "Best Choice" recommendations are in red. Here Goes:

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Oct 22, 2009 - 8:45 AM to 11:45 AM
BEST CHOICE: How to Get Work from Ad Agencies (Link)
Presenting: Sarah Galkin, Andrea Kaye, JoAnne Tansman, moderated by Debra Weiss
Description: Many changes have taken place in the ad industry and many more are to come. With more and more slashed budgets, growing competition and fewer jobs what's a photographer to do? Join us for a roundtable discussion with two art buyers and a creative director and hear what you need to make it as an advertising photographer. Gain insight into what it takes to get their attention, how they choose the photographers they work with and how to build lasting beneficial relationships. You'll hear panelists' honest and frank perspectives on how you can succeed in this rapidly changing and increasingly impersonal business. This seminar is a must for photographers looking to increase their chance of getting work from ad agencies. Sponsored by ADBASE
My Comments: This panel discussion has been a tried-and-true presentation, with valuable insights from each panelist.

Oct 22, 2009 - 11:45 AM to 1:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: LUNCH and the show floor (here's a link to the Javits Food Court offerings)
My Comments: Now is the time to grab a quick sandwich and take a quick spin around the show floor for 45 to 60 minutes to pinpoint your "must see" booths, for later.

Oct 22, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: Is Your Website Making You Money? (Link)
Presenting: Blake Discher
Description: Each day, there are 300 million searches on the Internet. According to Forrester Research, 81 percent of consumers on the Internet find products or services using search engines. According to StatMarket, only 7 percent of all Web sites are visible on search engines. In this three-hour seminar, Blake Discher shares how he succeeds in having his Web site consistently place at the top of the major search engines, resulting in increased billings and greater visibility for his business. Photographers, studio managers and artist's representatives will learn about the importance of proper keyword phrases and links, site design and copywriting that is search-engine friendly. Learn more about pay-per-click search engine marketing and how to achieve excellent organic search results. In addition, Discher will discuss how to effectively implement a link-building campaign to increase page rank, perhaps the single most important aspect of search engine optimization. Sponsored by ASMP, ADBASE & LiveBooks
My Comments: Blake has given talks on this subject for a few years, updating it as the web evolves. If you've seen it, go see it again and get refreshed, otherwise, check out the panel below.

Oct 22, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Tools for Selling Stock Direct (Link)
Presenting: Fred Benenson, Ellen Boughn, Pam Fischer, Allan Murbayashi, Rahul Pathak
Description: We are very close to a convergence of technology and evolving search behavior that will enable photographers to license their existing images directly to clients as never before. Learn how from representatives of companies on the cutting edge of these technologies: Photo Shelter, ImageSpan, LookStat and Creative Commons. PhotoShelter has great tools for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and ImageSpan offers a soup-to-nuts program for licensing stock direct. LookStat provides microstock photographers with detailed information about their own licenses, eliminating reliance on traditional stock shooting tips. Finally, Creative Commons offers a series of licenses widely used on Flickr. It has possibilities for teaching emerging photographers which images are the most popular, helping them to refine their style and monetize their best images. Handouts will be provided. Sponsored by Agency Access
My Comments: As people realize that they have all the tools at their disposal to monetize their image archives, knowing how to do that - direct - without the aide of a traditional photo agency, will be valuable knowledge. Ths program will give you those insights, or set you in the right direction to begin to grow your understanding of what's involved.

Oct 22, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: What do I Charge? (Link)
Presenting: Susan Carr
Description: Are your clients asking for more and paying less? Are your costs increasing? Are you struggling with how to determine your fees? And, what about talking to clients about price? Susan Carr takes the mystery out of determining your fees and setting licensing terms as she presents real world strategies for pricing in this tough business climate. Topics to be covered include: what you need to know about copyright; why copyright, how licensing and pricing are connected; a real world look at how to license photography; different pricing models; steps to determining what to charge; and selling your price. Sponsored by ASMP
My Comments: I've known Susan for several years, and her presentations are always top-notch. When it comes to developing pricing models that are best suited to you, her presentation will be a sure thing!

Oct 22, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Stepping Up to Larger Production Commercial Shoots (Link)
Presenting: Kareem Black, Celeste Holt-Waters, Conor Risch, Kathryn Tyrrel, Bette Wilkes
Description: In this seminar photographers will learn from top photo industry professionals how commercial shoots of every size are successfully planned and produced. Photographers will gain a top-to-bottom understanding of commercial production, from the ins and outs of the bidding and planning processes, to communicating effectively with creatives, clients, crews and talent on the day of the shoot. Seminar attendees will also learn how to pitch themselves to buyers and build portfolios that land them their first production-heavy jobs. A photographer will also discuss the success strategies that have allowed him to land increasingly complex commercial jobs. Sponsored by PDN
My Comments: If you feel like your pricing systems are in place, and you want to take your business to the next level, don't miss this presentation.

Oct 22, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Light & The Dramatic Portrait (Link)
Presenting: Michael Grecco
Description: Michael Grecco, author of the bestselling book Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait, creates highly stylized portraits that have been featured in numerous publications, including Esquire, Maxim and TIME. Using his own work as a reference, Grecco will explain his techniques for rendering light and shadow, and will demonstrate how he creates his stylistic and dramatic images. He will share work from his latest book, Naked Ambition: An R-Rated Look at an X-Rated Industry, and other current projects. He will also discuss the specialty lights, equipment and setups he used to compose the striking signature look for this new work. The last 20 minutes of this seminar will be a Q&A, during which time some of Grecco's specialty gear will be shown. Handouts will be provided.
My Comments:Michael has a unique perspective and a no-B.S. approach to photography, and the business of photography.

Oct 22, 2009 - 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: Greg Heisler Presents: Arnold Newman, Impact & Influence (Link)
Presenting: Greg Heisler
Description: "We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds." This poignant message to engage the medium with intelligence and compassion, as quoted by legendary portrait photographer Arnold Newman, has deeply impacted generations of photographers. In this special presentation award-winning photographer (and former Arnold Newman assistant) Gregory Heisler, will share his personal perspective on Newman's work and legacy, along with a presentation of indelible images from his own thirty-year career. Also in attendance, representing the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation, Newman's sons Eric and David will join Heisler to announce the Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture.
My Comments: Heisler's program will be a great way to close out the day and enjoy amazing images.

Oct 23, 2009 - 9AM PM to 1:15 PM
My Comments: Hit the show floor. Visit the places you identified the day before, and do more in-depth research. Sleep on your decisions, and make your final purchasing decisions tomorrow.

Oct 23, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: Super Sites: Successful Self-Promotion for the Digital Age (Link)
Presenting: Rebecca Crumley, Louisa Curtis, Richard Maltz, Lorraine McNeil-Popper, Erin Rabasch
Description: With all the new ways of letting prospective clients know who you are and what you do, "one size fits all" just does not cut it in today's market. Whether you shoot advertising, editorial, fine art or weddings your Web site is the most important tool to showcase your work and your visual brand. This panel of esteemed photo buyers will discuss not only what makes a Web site that clients want to bookmark, but also how to steer them to your site and make them want to return regularly. The panelists will weigh in on new and buzzworthy ways to "sell" yourself, such as having your own blog or using social networking sites, and will share their self-promotional do's and don'ts. The discussion will culminate with a "live critique" of willing audience members' Web sites. This is your chance to get candid, constructive feedback on your own marketing efforts! Handouts will be provided. Sponsored by LiveBooks & APA
My Comments: This is a great panel discussion and will help you to know better how to market yourself.

Oct 23, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: Strategic Estimating (Link)
Presenting: Jeff Sedlik
Description: Ever struggled with the wording of an estimate? Do you confidently respond to client requests for "buy-outs" and work-made for-hire terms? Do you know all of the most important factors to consider when quoting fees to your clients? Effective estimating is both an art and a science. To be successful, your estimate must be profitable, yet competitive. Learn how to generate estimates designed to win jobs and maximize your revenues and profits. Learn precisely what questions to ask your client, and how to best use their answers to win the job. Beginner to intermediate levels. Sponsored by PLUS
My Comments:WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT MISS THIS ONE (or mine!). Sedlik will give you clear and concise tools for estimating. I will absolutely positively be there!

Oct 23, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Starting Today, You're a Brand: Building Your Brand & Your Business (Link)
Presenting: Ken Carbone, Shama Hyer, Lynn Martin, Corey Rich, Todd Wasserman
Description: Whether you're a photographer, educator, independent consultant or corporate employee, developing a "personal brand" to market yourself isn't merely hip. . .it's a survival strategy. Young turks of marketing and social networking join successful photographers and seasoned industry insiders to explain, inspire, share their own experiences and outline the creative and strategic process of defining and establishing your brand online. You'll learn what's essential, where and how to source compelling content, how to use key sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others), video and other resources more efficiently and effectively, plus learn time-saving tips and what NOT to do online. All levels. Sponsored by Brandweek
My Comments: If you feel you know estimating, this is going to be a great alternative to Sedlik's program.

Oct 24, 2009 - 8:45 AM to 11:45 AM
BEST CHOICE: Negotiating With Clients & Best Business Practices For Photographers (LINK)
Presenting: John Harrington
Description: The art of negotiating takes time; this seminar offers a shortcut. John Harrington will offer insights into how he negotiates his assignments using real situations, including actual exchanges with clients. In this seminar, everything from tone to cadence to the selection of when—and how—to address the sticky details of your negotiation will be demonstrated and discussed. In addition, Harrington will touch on key considerations about how to run your business more efficiently and effectively in the current economic climate. Beginner to intermediate levels.
My Comments:Need I say more? Mine is, of course, a don't miss program!

Oct 24, 2009 - 11:45 PM to 1:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: Final Trip to Show Floor
My Comments: May your final decisions and purchases during this time.

Oct 24, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: 10 Steps to Becoming a Great Photographer (Link)
Presenting: Steve Simon
Description: There are no secrets, at least in this session, where Steve Simon deconstructs the elements that make good photographers great. Through this innovative 10-step process, Simon will help you transform your passion into a unique personal vision. He will take you out of your comfort zone to help you determine what you want to say with your work while providing practical knowledge to translate your feelings into strong content. Simon's presentation combines humor and poignancy as he takes you on an inspirational journey through his personal and compelling projects. His presentation is full of surprises, tips for balancing personal and commercial work, as well as insights for pushing your photographic limits to the next level of your journey as an image-maker. All levels.
My Comments:Steve knows his stuff, and will give you some real-world insights.

Oct 24, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: Breaking into the Biz: What Every Student and Emerging Photographer Should Know
Presenting: Judy Herrmann, Mike Starke
Description: Sure, you want to be a commercial photographer and you've got talent, drive and ambition but where do you start? In this seminar, veteran photographers Judy Herrmann and Mike Starke will provide you with a wealth of resources and share real world tactics that will help you take your career where you want it to go. Topics include finding work as an assistant, portfolio development, marketing your work, as well as pricing and developing sound business practices. This seminar is ideal for students looking for guidance and advice; for emerging photographers seeking a more satisfying career path; and for anyone contemplating a career change into this exciting but challenging field. Handouts are available online. Beginner to intermediate levels.
Sponsored by ASMP
My Comments: We recommended this program last year, and reprise that BEST CHOICE recommendation again. If you saw it last year, and are implementing their recommendations, then check out the recommendation below.

Oct 24, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Photojournalism: What's Next in Storytelling (Link)
Presenting: Deanne Fitzmaurice
Description: Big changes are happening in our industry now, particularly in photojournalism, as budgets shrink at print outlets (magazines, newspapers) and readers turn to the Web for information. The good news is this has opened up new opportunities for photojournalists who want to learn new skills and new ways of storytelling using multimedia. Media outlets, corporations and NGOs are constantly looking for multimedia content for their Web sites, including still photos with audio and video. Diversifying and learning these new skills will make a photographer more marketable in these changing times. All levels. Sponsored by Microsoft
My Comments:Deanne is a great presenter, and will talk to you about her solutions and ideas about how to evolve in the contracting world of photojournalism.

Below is what your registration should look like. Note that because you have eight seminars, you get the "full conference" price of $495.


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, September 23, 2009

Don't Pay Lip-Service to Liability

Every day, people calculate what reasonable risk is, from crossing the street, to signing a contract where you agree to pay for the lawsuits that arise when you have indemnified your multi-million dollar corporate clients for their mis-uses of your photos beyond your control. A few weeks into a second year law student's licensing class, this academic (Indemnification, 9/22/09) somehow deigns that they can offer advice in the form of opinion about how you shouldn't have a "hissy fit" over indemnification issues. This is like getting a photographer in their sophomore year in college to shoot your ad job with millions of dollars in an ad buy and tens of thousands of dollars in pre and post-production on the line. Maybe it will work, but should you take the risk?
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More often than desirable, photographers get KILLED on indemnification, especially where there are people in the photographs and the client's usage of the image, including the text in the ads (which is outside of the control of the photographer, but which nevertheless results in a high level of liability to the photographer if the photographer is dumb enough to follow pay lip-service to issues of liability) results in a lawsuit by the models, even though the photographer obtained signed model releases. Lawyers all too often rip to shreds even signed model releases. Lawsuits will be for millions in lost modeling fees, emotional distress, etc.. Far exceeding the photographer's insurance against such things. Yes, millions.

It is one thing for photographers to indemnify their client against the photographers' actions, or those under the direction of the photographer (like an assistant). However, in the interests of parity, your contract should indemnify you against their mis-use of the images outside of the scope of the license and/or model release, it's only fair.

The bigger problem is that photographers are all to often told that the terms of a contract are non-negotiable. On the point that these are negotiable, we can agree. Everything is negotiable. Heck, the old joke applies - the man who offers a million dollars to sleep with a beautiful woman who agrees, is then asked "well would you take $50k?" She responds "who do you think I am?" To which the man replies "we've already established you are a prostitute, now we're just haggling over the price."

That "hissy-fit" you might have been having will look like you didn't even put up a fight when a judgement that exceeds your business insurance means you have to sell your home to cover the judgement against you. (By the way, this isn't theoretical, it has happened.) Have a real lawyer, one who has graduated, passed the bar, and has some experience under their belt, give you advice that you pay for, and have one skilled AND EXPERIENCED in contracts look at yours to make sure they are lawful for your jurisdiction. Have your lawyer look at indemnification clauses, or compare the ones in your contract against the ones you are being presented with, and negotiate for the terms that are in yours. Really. Not doing this could well mean that the proverbial wheels, doors, and chrome trim will fall off the vehicle that is your business, and there won't be enough auto parts in the world to put humpty dumpty back together again.

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.

On failure

76 seconds of your life taking a look at how failure does not preclude future success:

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Marketing is NOTHING like Dating

Contrary to what some people might mislead you to believe (Dating No 1), marketing is nothing like dating. In marketing, you are trying to establish a business relationship whereby you provide a service, for a fee, and the client gets to benefit from your creativity. In the dating world, this would thus be a "car date", and in dating, you are trying each other out for the possibility of a long-term deeply personal relationship, not a financial one. Women, In those instances, are referred to as gold diggers, or worse.
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In irresponsible dating, you spot someone you find attractive, and then fumble through the process of seeing if you are compatible. If you were to exercise this approach in your marketing efforts, your level of failure would be very very high. In fact, photographers every day practice "dating" marketing. Looking at the publications like Vanity Fair or National Geographic as printed parallels to an available Jennifer Anniston or Brad Pitt, photographers drool at the notion of working for these magazines much like fans drool over attractive celebrities, and barrel head on trying to "get with them". The problem is, there is no 400 lb body guard protecting those photo editors from the dolts and floozies that are throwing themselves upon the VF/NGS/etc alters in an irresponsible way. These photographers don't bother to see if they are a good fit, like the photographer Jeffrey Thayer did when he made his recent "pilgrimage" to NYC, as recounted on the liveBooks REVOLVE blog here. Thayers' result - heard more than once " I was able to discuss the publications’ visions and to show where mine could complement it. They both enjoyed my work and, the greatest compliment, said that some of my images “are such (insert magazine title here) shots.”

Did Thayer have those successful encounters by "trying out" his clients, to see if there's a fit? Did he waste the time of the photo editors/art buyers/etc fumbling to see if there was a good fit? Not at all. He was thoughtful in his approach. He didn't try to sell himself above or below his abilities or style. He researched where his style could compliment and benefit the magazines and clients. When was the last time you approached dating thinking "hey, they'll really benefit in so many ways by dating me!" (That is the fastest way to getting the cold shoulder from the apple of your eye.)

Equating marketing to dating just doesn't pass the smell test, unless you want to be errant and irresponsible about both, and lather up in some eau de photographer in the process.

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Chase Jarvis Rocks It With His Best Camera Application

As someone who, in fact, carries his iPhone everywhere, Chase is right, with his now trademarked phrase "The Best Camera is the one with you" (yes, he did trademark it!). Chase is also right that all the apps out there are missing bits and pieces, and he brings it all together in the app, which you can learn more about at

I downloaded the app on my way to New York yesterday, and it is amazingly intuitive. I have multiple apps already, with my favorite one before this being Camera Bag, however, this one just does a great job all around, especially on the sharing front. At left is a nifty screen shot of the app in use with a photo of my speedometer as I was headed home from NYC on the NJ Turnpike, inside the Best Camera app.
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The app does a REALLY great job of lighting up shadows in images, and the warm/cool and candy settings are great, but watch out for an over-use of the candy setting. One application of that filter on my red rental car that replaced my Jeep that broke down in the middle of the NJ Turnpike when we were northbound to NYC had commenters criticizing the saturated reds. (As for me, I liked it - it represented my anger at the situation I had found myself in, and the clown-car size of the sub-compact I was stuck renting to get to NYC in time!) Also, playing with the app distracted me from my frustrations - my creativity with other photos actually had a bit of a calming side effect!

What don't I like? Not much. All around, it is the best application out there. One thing I wrote to Chase about was that every photo lists the photo as "Photo from Chase Jarvis' Best Camera", and he indicated that that will change in a few days with a "0.1" release, as it was coded that way by accident. Even when you input a caption in the app, it does not make it to facebook, however, you can easily edit the caption on facebook after the fact. The only other thing is that the crop tool just crops square arbitrarily. I would love to be able to select my crop and dimensions, and I suspect that will come as an enhancement very soon. the entire interface is so intuitive, with easy to understand visual cues as to what each filter does, and the fact that you can stack them.

Run, don't walk to get this app, and begin sharing your photos on Facebook and Twitter much easier than ever before. Don't have an iPhone? Too bad! Who knows if he's going to do a version for other phones, so go get an iPhone so you can use this app. Chase also has a pretty cool social networking site where you can see what other people are shooting and sharing, as well as the most popular amongst those. In addition, he has this book (at right) that is worth checking out as well!

Lastly, it wouldn't be "total Chase" without a cool video to accompany this, so check the latest from Mr. Jarvis out below. As I note, in my 1am photograph taken at the Burger King along the turnpike, using a newspaper front page, he really could deserve, in some creative realm, the title "King Chase"!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Photography As Art: Sotheby's Auction Listings

In a sign that photography is being accepted by the art world as, well, art, Sotheby's is holding an auction of an amazing collection of photographs, with details and an online catalog available for browsing here.

Below are the details, and it's an interesting browse, as well as what the valuations are estimated to be. Click on the individual photograph to see the dollar figures.
Sotheby's NYC
Fri, 9 Oct 09, 10:00AM (Lots 1-102) & 2:00PM (Lots 103-243)

Sotheby's October 2009 sale of Photographs features an exciting selection of masterworks by some of the most important and innovative of 20th-Century photographers. Paul Outerbridge's Nude with Sculpture Head combines the photographer's technical rigor with his distinctive, frequently Surreal, aesthetic. Man Ray's Lee Miller and Friend links the Surreal with the sensual. In Eleanor, Harry Callahan creates a multi-layered double-exposure study of his wife and muse. Work by László Moholy-Nagy, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Pierre Dubreuil illustrates the range and diversity of the Modernist impulse in photography. Contemporary work includes images by Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Peter Beard, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helmut Newton. Also on offer is the complete set of fine books and portfolios published by 21st Editions, each illustrated with original photographs and photogravures by a variety of contemporary photographers.

Nineteenth-century offerings include a daguerreotype of Maungwudaus, a chief of the Ojibwa tribe, who performed Native American dances in Europe and the United States in the 1840s. Masterful landscapes by Carleton Watkins and Henry P. Bosse, as well as a rare and early Lincoln portrait, are featured as well.
Remember, folks, you can't sell your work as art if you gave away the copyright, but the people you sold it to can.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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.

TOMMORROW - NYC Presentation: The Art of the Deal

Interested in knowing more about how to negotiate with your clients? How to more clearly license your work? TOMORROW, 9/22, in the evening, I am presenting The Art of the Deal at Adorama, Sponsored by Nikon.

Here are the details:
The Adorama Building
42 West 18th Street - Between 5th and 6th Avenues
5th floor
New York, N.Y. 10011
Event Description:
Join John Harrington, author of the best-selling ‘Best Business Practices for Photographers’, for an insightful and solutions-oriented presentation on how to generate more revenue from the assignments, through pricing examples and discussion, negotiation strategies, and demystifying licensing of your work.

Unlock the mysteries surrounding how to price your work, and learn ways to negotiate from a position of strength. When it comes to licensing, how do you write a license that gives the client the permissions they paid for, without leaving loopholes you could drive a truck through?

Through a series of actual negotiated assignments, we will break down the negotiation and explain how to plan for the questions you'll get, and to know the best ways to answer them. When it comes to pricing, there seems to be a world of secrecy around rates. We will discuss solutions for stock and assignment pricing, as well as discuss tools for you to establish your own. When it comes to licensing, we'll discuss and explain the standardized licensing solution that is the Picture Universal Licensing System (or PLUS), and how to write a license, where to put the licensing language, and what the best format will be.Throughout the program, all of these elements will be integrated into each assignment discussed.
To attend or learn more, click here.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ad Agency Cut as Unilever Crowdsources Its Creative

Two and a half years ago, we took to task Five Point Productions, of Cary North Carolina, for their ill-advised free contribution and boasting of the $13 cost to produce a commercial for Doritos' Superbowl commercial (Free photos (and $13 Superbowl ads, 2/1/07), since then, the highlights of their work have been a weak ad for Trans World Radio, a PSA for a radio station, and they continue to use their footage of a promo they did for a local wedding chapel, that we wrote about 18 months ago in our follow-up piece "Superbowl Suckers - One Year Later, 2/3/08. Yet, Doritos continues to milk the concept, touting their successes here. So, let's see - Doritos wins, everyone else gets a nifty t-shirt saying "I'm With Stupid", and an arrow pointing towards the collar area. Five Point learned what everyone that "works for photo credit" or "for the glory" does - doing that work does not pay off in more and better work - even when you are showcased in the Super Bowl ad lineup.
(Continued after the Jump)

Not to be outdone by the Doritos/Frito Lay parent company Pepsi Co, Unilever has upped the anty - firing their entire ad agency to crowdsourcing and a contest, as Advertising Age reports, in Don't Look Now, but the Crowd Might Just Steal Your Ad Account (9/14/09). Unilever's Chief Marketing Officer suggests that this crowdsourcing approach will translate into "outstanding" results, rather than just the "good" results he was getting from his agency, according to the article. In addition, as the article notes "the move to crowdsourcing saves on agency fees." Now, the entire effort has been taken internal, with no outside ad agency handling the media buy, or managing the contest.

Certainly, as entries are submitted, and presumably voted upon, the company's competition will know the direction of a strategic ad, so they can counter-program. Further, just as chinese "sweat shops" of World of Warcraft have sprung up to "farm gold", so too, could a rival agency, for just a few thousand dollars, outsource to Chinese computer users voting to promote the worst ad.

Unilever is penny-wise and pound-foolish here in this move. If they thought that the results from their current agency were just "good", they could have put out an RFP for a new agency to get "outstanding". This is, to say the least, a bone-headed move.

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.

iStockphoto Indemnifies Clients Up to $250k

iStockphoto has stepped up their efforts to woo wary would-be clients by indemnifying them in the event the client gets sued, according to this report by Cnet - iStockphoto seeks profit from others' legal worries - 9/15/09.

The free-wheeling days of free advertising photos being sourced from the likes of Flickr were brought back down to reality after the highly publicized case of Virgin Mobile being sued after they used a photograph of a young girl in their ads without a model release. ( MSNBC - Virgin Mobile sued over Flickr image used in ad, 9/20/07) Further complicating the matter, the photographer, who assigned a Creative Commons Attribution license, sued Creative Commons, because, as this article points out (Flickr User Sues Creative Commons Over License, 10/4/07) "According to the photographer, he didn't realize that by licensing his photos Attribution Only, he was agreeing to commercial uses like advertising....they [Creative Commons] were explicitly targeting non-legally-sophisticated users (i.e., separating their licenses into Human Readable and Legalese) and urging them to use CC's form licenses." The Virgin Mobile case is just one of many lawsuits that have caused a chilling effect for major corporations' willingness to use Flickr/et al images to save a few dollars on the front end only to be hit with big dollar settlement amounts in the end. The AP/Shepard Fairey case (The Associated Press v. Shepard Fairey, 2/4/09), is among others.
(Continued after the Jump)

In one report on a now locked iStockphoto forum thread by Craig Swatton reveals "I was speaking to someone who works in London for a major global firm and on my suggestion they were going to come here for images to put into a presentation but it turns out the firm's global policy explicitly bans istock (along with one of the other main competitor)."

In the iStockPhoto licensing agreement, as of September 15, 2009, it states, in part:
7. Limited Representations and Warranties
(a) The Site acts as an exchange of Content between those who provide Content to the Site and those who wish to use such Content. iStockphoto grants no rights and makes no warranties regarding the use of names, people, trademarks, trade dress, patented or copyrighted designs or works of art or architecture or other forms of intellectual property represented in any Content. While we have made reasonable efforts to correctly categorize and keyword the Content, iStockphoto does not warrant the accuracy of such information.


9. Indemnification
You agree to indemnify, defend and hold iStockphoto, its affiliates, its Content providers and their respective directors, officers, employees, shareholders, partners and agents (collectively, the “iStockphoto Parties”) harmless from and against any and all claims, liability, losses, damages, costs and expenses (including reasonable legal fees on a solicitor and client basis) incurred by any iStockphoto Party as a result of or in connection with any breach by you or anyone acting on your behalf of any of the terms of this Agreement.

Clearly, some actuary did the math and concluded that the likelihood of an image being used and then a lawsuit being brought was sufficient that they could include, as a part of your $1.00 license to use a photo, atleast $10,000 in insurance, and as much as $250,000 if you are a frequent user of iStockphoto. Likely, iStockphoto is not self-insuring against this, but rather has a specific policy to protect them in these cases.

Interesting, since the v1.2(d) edition of the Flickr/Getty contract, clause 5 says that the contributor:
"Each party represents and warrants to each other that it has the full power, authority, legal capacity and is of sufficient age to enter into the Agreement and perform its obligations hereunder...content will not infringe the copyright of any third party, and will not contain any subject matter which violates any applicable law or regulation and, if released, will not defame, violate the right of privacy or publicity, or infringe the trademark or other personal or property interests of the parties..."
The contract goes on, stipulating that
"Each Party (an "indemnitor") agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the other Party..." and then goes on "Getty Images shall not be liable for any shall bear sole responsibility for obtaining and maintaining adequate insurance for protection of Content. If, despite the above limitations, liability is imposed on Getty Images for any of these reasons, in not event shall Getty Images' liability exceed US$10,000 in the aggregate."
Thus, iStockphoto/Getty/et al are protected because once the end client says "hey, I just got sued for using one of your photos..." Getty will offer to settle up to $250k, and then, in turn, has every right to sue the hobbiest/soccer mom/amateur for whatever they had to spend, plus all their attributable legal fees for handling this. These issues will also likely be reasons for photos getting rejected because of trademarks in the content.

As more lawsuits are filed from Flickr/Creative Commons/Royalty-Free uses of photography, those willing to spend high dollars for pictures will continue to turn away more and more from the penny-stocks, with these tens of millions of images being relegated to school reports and uninformed mom-and-pop shops who don't know what they are - and are not - getting. Atleast they're getting insurance, for the time being.

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, September 13, 2009

NYC Presentation Next Week: The Art of the Deal

Interested in knowing more about how to negotiate with your clients? How to more clearly license your work? Next Tuesday, 9/22, in the evening, I am presenting The Art of the Deal at Adorama, Sponsored by Nikon.

Here are the details:
The Adorama Building
42 West 18th Street - Between 5th and 6th Avenues
5th floor
New York, N.Y. 10011
Event Description:
Join John Harrington, author of the best-selling ‘Best Business Practices for Photographers’, for an insightful and solutions-oriented presentation on how to generate more revenue from the assignments, through pricing examples and discussion, negotiation strategies, and demystifying licensing of your work.

Unlock the mysteries surrounding how to price your work, and learn ways to negotiate from a position of strength. When it comes to licensing, how do you write a license that gives the client the permissions they paid for, without leaving loopholes you could drive a truck through?

Through a series of actual negotiated assignments, we will break down the negotiation and explain how to plan for the questions you'll get, and to know the best ways to answer them. When it comes to pricing, there seems to be a world of secrecy around rates. We will discuss solutions for stock and assignment pricing, as well as discuss tools for you to establish your own. When it comes to licensing, we'll discuss and explain the standardized licensing solution that is the Picture Universal Licensing System (or PLUS), and how to write a license, where to put the licensing language, and what the best format will be.Throughout the program, all of these elements will be integrated into each assignment discussed.
To attend or learn more, click here.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Google Analytics 'Missing Manual'

Google Analytics is one of the best things since sliced bread. What if, though, you could see that bread through the plastic wrap, but could only get at a few morsels simply because you couldn't figure out the twist-tie? The folks at PhotoShelter have unlocked the secrets of Google Analytics - for the first time that we know of - with their free eBook explaining how to maximize the GA tools at your disposal.
(Continued after the Jump)

While the PS guide was written after months of research, and follows on their leading role in search engine optimization for the content they host for photographers, the tools and explanations are easily translated to most anyone using GA.

Almost 50 pages of content in total, spread across 3 files that comprise the e-Book, they break down and explain, in easy to understand terms, just how to maximize Google's free analytics tool. Not enough? PhotoShelter CEO Allen Murabayashi is doing a series of free webinars about their efforts and results.

How do you get the free Google Analytics for Photographers e-Book? Click here and enter your e-mail address. I promise it will be worth it!

What is Google Analytics? PhotoShelter CEO Allen Murabayashi explains it best "Smart photographers are realizing that a website is much more than just a digital portfolio where you show pretty pictures, but rather a powerful marketing tool that requires constant optimization,” he explains. “When a photographer adds Google Analytics, they gain the same type of data that the world’s greatest marketing organizations are using to make their websites more effective.” The PhotoShelter press release gives you more information - "With the insights from Google Analytics, photographers can easily determine the best sources of website traffic, top performing marketing investments, search keywords used by visitors, most engaging content, why visitors are leaving, and more. Used properly, Google Analytics data can help photographers dramatically improve their website performance and make critical decisions that grow their businesses."

Thus, in a nutshell, a website without Googles' free Analytics is like making pictures and guessing if the focusing ring is in the right place or not. Not partaking in this, and the rest of the free photoshelter research would be a fireable offense if you weren't self-employed.

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.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Associated Press and PictureGroup Form Distribution Alliance

September 10, 2009 the AP places another feather in their cap as they sign a distribution deal with one of the leading music and entertainment photographers – Frank Micelotta – as he formally launches PictureGroup. AP is just ramping up their NFL deal that they spirited away from Getty Images (The Associated Press and the NFL, 4/15/09), as Micelotta, who left Getty back in January, now has launched PictureGroup with an AP Images distribution deal.

Micelotta brings not just his decades of talent and connections to PictureGroup as CEO and Chief Photographer, but he brings together decades of talent from across the country under one umbrella in PictureGroup.

It has been said by many industry leaders that Photo Business News has talked to about this, that Getty Images has such penetration into the marketplace because of distribution, that they would seem to be hard to beat., and PictureGroup would have an uphill battle in gaining traction.
(Continued after the Jump)

Micelotta, despite having many marquee companies and organizations like MTV, BET, Comedy Central, FOX, MySpace, Columbia Records, Jive Label Group, RCA Records and EMI, would have to convince the prospective buyer to actively visit the PictureGroup site in order to license material. Getty benefits from people already being on their site and performing searches, and while Getty is a known entity and image resource, PictureGroup is not. As such, the concern is that, for example, MTV might benefit from people looking for images specifically from one of their events, but could lose out on the exposure from an MTV image fitting the bill when a search is performed for a celebrity where the event didn’t matter. These searches can reasonably be called unintended-but-beneficial results.This is where the AP distribution deal is remarkably genius.

Under the deal with the AP, Micelotta says “I am also thrilled to be partnering with the world’s largest and preeminent news organization, the Associated Press, and believe that this alliance allows PictureGroup to provide a unique offering to the entertainment industry.” And the AP is equally effusive, “We look forward to working with all of PictureGroup’s photographers to expand AP’s entertainment content, while furthering the evolution of AP Images into a dominant provider of commercial entertainment assignment services,” said Dan Becker, AP’s Director of Entertainment Content.

In one fell swoop, concerns about the count of eyeballs on images vanishes. More than Getty Images, the AP’s AP Images platform has more searches performed, which will lead to more of those unintended-but-beneficial results for picutureGroup and the AP.

Micelotta is not alone in leading this endeavor. He will run PictureGroup with Paul Melcher, who, aside from most recently being the CEO of REX USA, was also was Director of North American Operations and Sales for Hachette Filipacchi Photo Group. Melcher will likely continue to pen his Melcher System blog with his candid thoughts about the industry, and we look forward to those insights.

Micelotta adds “one of the reasons I am doing this is that there is an opportunity in the marketplace that wasn’t being filled, and I was hearing that from my clients. I think it’s really nice that we can start a company like PictureGroup, and hopefully empower photographers a little bit more to be able to run their businesses as photographers again, and have a company that will support them. We plan on supporting our photographers with technology, and we plan on supporting their clients, all the while letting them still work with their clients. I think we have a little bit of a different approach.

Look to PictureGroup to be a most formidable opponent in the entertainment images arena.

10 Questions for Frank Micelotta, 9/11/09

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.

Ten Questions for Frank Micelotta

Frank Micelotta ranks among the legends of the entertainment photography community. After founding ImageDirect and selling it to Getty Images in 2003, Micelotta served as their Director of Entertainment, before leaving to launch PictureGroup, along with another industry veteran, Paul Melcher. In the late hours of September 10th, hours after the launch was announced on Variety (Micelotta Forms PictureGroup), Micelotta took the time to answer our 10 Questions.

1. How will you compensate photographers at PictureGroup? In the past, Getty Images required a copyright transfer/work-for-hire in order to earn an assignment fee, otherwise the assignments generally were on spec. So is PictureGroup going to follow that model, or return to a model where photographers keep their rights, earn their percentage of resales, and earn an assignment fee, which is much more akin to an agent/photographer relationship?
Yeah, well, that’s exactly the point. I think that luckily for us, I think that about 90% of the assignment work we do – the photographer still gets royalties. They get a share of the assignment fee and they also get royalties when the image is licensed. I think that we are making it an attractive place for photographers to work and I think that we’ll attract some really quality photographers. We also have a lot of announcements we’ll make between now and the end of the year.
(Continued after the Jump)
2. Getty images has certainly changed since they acquired ImageDirect from you back in 2003. What two or three changes are the most pronounced (or, alternatively, bad), since you came on board?
I think that not all the changes are bad. I think that they certainly increased their coverage and focus on entertainment. When I joined the company, it was certainly sports and news and entertainment was given very little focus. I think they’ve paid more attention to entertainment because that is where the money is. Conversely, I think that they’ve driven the prices down because of the premium access subscriptions, which I think are just not a good thing, and I think you’ve taken the one part of the editorial market that was still healthy, and I think damaged it by really lowering prices significantly. I think the other problem is that – you know they did the acquisition of ImageDirect, and later on WireImage and FilmMagic – I think they just have too much content. Too much content, too many photographers, and I think that’s a problem. I think it’s a problem for clients not wanting to see that much stuff. I think it’s just a little bit overwhelming.
3. Many of the talented team of photographers you had brought to Getty, I am hearing from them, and they are saying that Getty was trying to force on them a work-for-hire contract, when the contract you had with them was much more fair, with reasonable pay rates and 60/40 or 50/50 revenue sharing. Was Getty doing this, and if so, how did you, and your photographers handle this?
In our previous company, we really didn’t do work-for-hire, unless it was something the client wanted, and was paying for. In our current company, in PictureGroup, it’s the same way. We’ll do work-for-hire, but in a case where the client is paying a premium for that and usually even if it is a work-for-hire we’ll get – we’ll maintain – the editorial rights, which I think is really nice. I think that Getty does do work-for-hire with the majority of their assignments, and that’s their take on where they need to be with the business now. You know, they have a much bigger business to support than I do, so I think that at PictureGroup we can be a little bit more fair to photographers and if the client is hiring us and then it’s not a work-for-hire I think we can just pass that along to our photographer and share the revenue on the assignment with them, and then share the licensing or royalties with them.
4. A contact of mine at a major womens' beauty products corporation shared with me that when they hire a photographer to come cover a red carpet event, or inside, for a few hours, they are paying between $5,000 and $6,000 to WireImage/Getty, yet the photo editors are telling the photographers they only have $200-$250 to pay, and all the rights (including copyright) are a part of that fee. Can you explain how Getty/et al thinks this is fair, and why any photographer would accept such a deal?
I don’t know what – to be honest – I don’t know that much about that part of their business, only because when I was at Getty and had my assignment work going through Getty, I booked everything with the clients myself. So I never really had interactions with people – the sales people – that were handling that stuff. I don’t really know. I’ve heard the same thing, and I think if it’s true, then the photographers don’t really know about it. You know, unfortunately, when I started at Getty, there was a revenue share on assignments of 65/35 I believe, and it was my understanding that that was always the way it was. I don’t really know if – when there’s a policy in place now of just paying them as little as possible, or what. I just don’t know. If it is the case, you know, I don’t think it’s a very good deal for photographers, and I think they really should question it.
5. ImageDirect clearly was a profitable business before Getty bought it from you, and Getty primarily bought WireImage to keep them from impacting their bottom line (oh, and for the WireImage contracts) but now it appears, with the race to the bottom, that the market for celebrity images has been slashed to within an inch of it's life. Can you explain how this happened?
Yeah. I think there’s a lot of people that have participated in the race to the bottom for the editorial entertainment market. I think that everyone has their right to lower prices, but I t hink when you see companies – when you see agencies willing to give away photos fpr $5, for a photo for online use. I just think it’s a very bad strategy. Getty has premium access subscriptions that has lowered prices significantly, but there’s a lot of smaller agencies that I see and they’re either trying to match the prices or they’re just offering images at really – at rates that you cannot run a business on. So, I don’t know, I don’t see these businesses – I don’t see their pictures published that much, so I don’t know how much they’re making, but I think when you have a small agency, with just a few people running it sitting in an office, they’re just trying to sign as many deals as they can for $500 or $1,000 a month for unlimited use. I just think that’s a really short-sighted strategy. I wish they would think a little bit more about the long term, but I also think that these people are not going to be in the business long term, so maybe that’s why they just are trying to take the easy way out right now, and offer these really low rates. It’s not profitable and you can’t run a business on those rates, so I don’t really understand the continual lowering of prices.
6. It is remarkable to me that the editors at Getty think it's reasonable to pump out 3,000 images from an LA red carpet event, when prospective clients like US, Entertainment Weekly, AOL, etc, each will likely use 10 to 40 images, and usually very similar ones. Why do these editors think that forcing their clients to wade through the haystack to find the needed "needles", is making their clients happy? Or, is this a pump-and-churn mentality forced upon the editors by senior management?
I think there’s too much content coming from almost everybody. I don’t think – it’s easy to look at Getty because they have three brands and they have so many photographers. It’s easy to look at them and the amount of images they put out. At the same time, I think that in certain ways they are stuck with the situation where they have a lot of photographers that they have contracts with and they have to support all those photographers contractually. So, they’re stuck with a certain volume. I’m not sure they can really take their volume down very much even if they wanted to. Again, I think there are a lot of smaller agencies that are putting out a lot of photos just because it’s digital, and just because it’s easy, and doesn’t cost any more to send 1,000 photos, then to send 100. I think if it cost them money to send more photos, you’d see the amount of images drop drastically. So, I’m not saying that’s something that people should do, you know, charge for the amount of images we submit, but, I would say that a little bit of editing goes a long way. When we met with all the magazines, what we talked to them about was returning to a reasonable edit. So, do a job, do a reasonable edit, make sure the event was covered, and that everybody was represented, and all the good pictures made it to the site, and to the magazines.
7. So many people talk about how clients are requiring work-for-hire contracts, yet that's not really the case, is it? I mean, while a corporate music client may want an extremely broad span of rights, and you can't license commercial rights anyway without releases, you surely are able to continue to license your editorial rights forever, right?
Right. I mean, the way we deal with work-for-hire is – my main objective is that we have the editorial rights. If we have to give up some rights on the other end, we don’t usually have a problem with it. I understand the realities of business now and we do a lot of music. The record companies are having a tough time financially, so our rates for a lot of the record companies have come down a little bit, and they need to have ownership of certain things we do for them. But, if they want ownership, but will give up the editorial rights, then we’re fine with that. Really, the editorial rights are all we have anyway, unless we negotiate the commercial rights, but they still come back to us when they want to license a picture for a CD single, or some other use, other than publicity, which is what we’re hired for. So, there are ways around it. There are ways to make sure it’s still a good and profitable business for both parties.
8. Why do you think photographers are so willing to believe prospective clients when they force a work-for-hire contract on them, and pay them a pittance, when the work is really worth much more? I know that people might think that your opinion will be based upon the fact that you are at the top of your field, but what advice would you give aspiring photographers about keeping rights and about being paid equitably for assignments and earning resales down the line?
I think that we have to look at the realities of the marketplace. That budgets have come down for quite a lot of work. I know it has for entertainment. It’s probably true for news and sports as well. I think if you have a combination of a reasonable rate for an assignment plus the ability to license it and generate royalties – I think you have to just balance it. Find a balance with your client that’s going to let you accept an assignment and feel good about it. I mean, we’ve very open with our clients. I’ll talk to them about things. Sure, we can shoot that for this rate, even though it’s lower than we would like, if we have the right to license the pictures and make up some of the difference. So, as long as they’re open to that, then we’re open to it too. I tend to not really want to walk away from an assignment – especially from a good established client – and if I have a relationship with a client for five years, or ten years, or, you know, 20 years, almost 25 years as is the case with MTV. When they need something, I’m going to take care of it. If the rate is down, or they’re at the end of their fiscal year, and they don’t have much money in the budget, I’m still going to take care of them because it’s in my own best long term interests. I think it’s a bit of a balancing act now. I think in particular, the way the economy is, the publishing market has been hit pretty badly. I think as photographers we need to look at that, and just be a little bit more intelligent about both the way we quote prices to our clients, and what we’re willing to accept from a client. I think a little bit of negotiating can go a long way.
9. Morale, from the people I am talking to, seems to be very low amongst the Getty editing staff. Do you think they are seeing the end-game, and realizing that their contributory role as "editor" in producing a quality product has become more of an image processor that is devoid of any real "editing"?
Well, I think that if you look at the way editing is done at big events, we’re all racing to move as many pictures as we can as quickly as we can. I think that for that reason, a lot of editors feel like they’re just pumping images out. Not really editing, as much as they are just being part of the workflow that moves images from the camera to a website. I think at some point that will have to scale back a little bit as well. These things are all connected. The amount of images, the amount of photographers, the larger file sizes coming out of the cameras all sort of command more work on the back end, so I think the business in general is stuck in a cycle where we’ve had to increase production on the back end due to all these other factors. It’s very costly to have editors, and we’ll have six editors at the video awards for MTV this Sunday, and that’s a pretty costly expense to have. I would like to be able to scale back on that as well, as I am sure others would. I’ve got to think that at some point we have to all find a more economical way of handling that workflow.
10. We have written separately - Associated Press and PictureGroup to Form Distribution Alliance – about your launch of PictureGroup and your distribution deal with the AP. What can you share with us that wasn’t in the press release?
I would say that we are working on a lot of other things both on the client side that will hopefully happen between now and the end of the year as well as on the photographer side. We have just begun this relationship with the AP, and we’re going to work very closely with them in the next few months to implement the workflow and make sure it works efficiently. I think probably the things I am most excited about are things that will happen in the next six months or so. We’re working on some deals that will be very big. Very good for Picture Group, and good for the photo industry as well.

Associated Press and PictureGroup Form Distribution Alliance, 9/11/09

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.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Re-Stating The Value of Copyright

All too often I hear photographers justify giving away all the rights to their work, suggesting the images are worthless or next to worthless. Like grains of sand, over time, they can become a beach. How big of a beach? That depends.

Photo District News has done a great job of following Annie Liebovitz's trials and tribulations (Is the Leibovitz Archive Really Worth $50 Million?) and asked the question that a photographer who does not own their own images could never ask of themselves because the answer is obvious.

When you give up the copyright, or all the rights, the answer is $0. So, say you're not Annie, what is your work worth?
(Continued after the Jump)

Enter Manuello Paganelli. "Pag" spent many years in the Washington DC area before moving to Los Angeles to make his mark. Manuello has been a stalwart defender of photographers rights (and his own) for as long as I have known him. Manuello can take a great photo - he's a solid photographer to be sure. Pag isn't, however, Annie, Salgado, Avedon, or Newman. I'm not telling him anything he doesn't already know, but I am making the point that you Pag could be you.

He posted an interesting story about his experience generating $20,000 from images he made on assignment. The story is here - Done Deal Three Images Licensed for 20K, and is well worth the read, including checking out the photos, which he links to.

The point here - is that your archive - when you own all the rights to the work, is valuable. Just a few months ago, I did a portrait for a magazine, and the subjects' organization (a non-profit by the way) is looking to license the work - for the usage they are looking for, the fee that has been agreed to is $2k.

Copyright, and your ability to control what does - and does not - happen with your work is what separates you, the photographer, from a day-laborer. There's nothing wrong, of course, with being a day-laborer, unless you are creating images that other people are licensing and re-licensing and profiting from, and you are not a participant in that revenue stream.

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.