Friday, October 30, 2009

Grace and the Giant Pumpkin

After a week of a lot of production and assignments, yesterday, we had a break before we're back on the road. A quick Sunday outing with the family to the pumpkin patch with my 5 year-old and 9 year-old, and an 8 month-old strapped to my chest got me to thinking that my youngest would actually fit into some of the pumpkins in the patch.

So, after a selection that would be "photo appropriate", and a bit of a struggle getting a huge pumpkin into the small red wagon, we headed home and the giant pumpkin was taken to the studio.

At right is one of the final images, and after the jump is a stop-action 4 minute video showing the entire project, from start to finish, in about 1,000 individual still images. We began the carving with one of our cut-out tools after a quick sharpie sketch. Removing the meat in the pumpkin and we were ready to shoot, with a clean white background. Grace, our 8-month old came on set for all of about 3 minutes, with my assistant Suzanne Behsudi handling the background and my wife securing Grace, I made a series of frames that I was pretty pleased with. Every once in awhile, it's nice to take a break and just have a little fun.

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For you RSS readers: Grace and the Giant Pumpkin

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Friday, October 23, 2009

PhotoPlus Expo 2009 - Day 2

The second day of the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City was a little less hectic, but still very fulfilling. We were not so overwhelmed with all the things to see and people to talk to (and learn from) because we had our bearing by now. Yet, we still have a lot we want to see tomorrow, Saturday, the last day.

Below once again is the combined video of interviews with the Copyright Office, Orbis Ring Flash, Photoshelter, and we finally got some more information about the product similarities between the Sun Sniper (interviewed yesterday), and the Black Rapid company, which we interviewed today.

Following the jump are the individual videos, if you'd just like to watch one.

Combined Video (RSS readers visit here):

Photo Plus Expo Day 2 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

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Copyright Office interview (RSS readers visit here):

US Copyright Office at ASMP Booth during Photo Plus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

Photoshelter interview (RSS readers visit here):

Photoshelter during Photo Plus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

Orbis Ring Flash interview (RSS readers visit here):

Orbis Ring Flash during Photo Plus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

Black Rapid interview (RSS readers visit here): 7230657

Black Rapid Camera Strap Company during Photo Plus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

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PhotoPlus Expo 2009 - Day 1

The first day of PhotoPlus Expo was filled with lots of interesting insights. Of surprising note was the abundance of camera strap solutions, which we hope to look into further just because it seems interesting that there are four solutions we've found on the show floor, one of which we demo from Sun Sniper in the videos below. Also worth noting was that while Adobe announced their public beta of Lightroom 3 (more info here ) - they did not have a booth on the show floor, because they pulled out. Further, rumors of Aperture 3 being announced here at the show have turned out to be false, but as with Apple, rumors and whispers often mean something is afoot, so who knows what their timeline is.

Below are the videos for the day. The first video is the entire days' interviews, about 15 minutes or so long. However, after the jump are the individual segments for each of the booths we visited - Think Tank, Visible Dust, Photo Mechanic, Sun Sniper, and Vimeo, who we are happy to say, we're using also to demonstrate these videos here as well.

REMINDER: Tomorrow, Saturday, from 8:45 - 11:45 I will be presenting.

Photo Plus Expo Day 1 coverage from John Harrington on Vimeo.

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Following are the same videos from the full day report, by subject/vendor interviewed:

VISIBLE DUST (RSS Readers, click here):

Rola Hamad of Visible Dust Interviewed at PhotoPlus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

PHOTOMECHANIC (RSS Readers, click here):

Photo Mechanic interviewed at PhotoPlus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

VIMEO (RSS Readers, click here):

Vimeo interviewed on the show floor of PhotoPlus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

THINK TANK PHOTO (RSS Readers, click here):

Think Tank Camera Bags at Photo Plus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

SUN SNIPER (RSS Readers, click here):

Sun Sniper Camera System at Photo Plus Expo 2009 from John Harrington on Vimeo.

Look for another report from day 2, at the end of that day.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Canon USA vs. Canon Inc - Don't Eat Your Own

In a bizarre turn of events, Canon USA has been taken out to the woodshed and given a whoopin' by Canon Inc in Japan because - get this - Vincent Laforet's Nocturne video showcasing the new Canon EOS 1D Mark IV was "too good" according to Fake Chuck Westfall, and Canon USA made Canon Inc look bad. Thus, Canon USA has directed Laforet to remove the video. (why we told Vincent Laforet) and on Laforet's blog he notes - Canon Has Requested....

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Instead of Canon Inc saying "hey, good job Canon USA for making Canon look good", Canon Inc is mired in the antiquated notion of that by Canon USA doing so good, Canon Japan looks bad because either that don't have the talent to make the same type of content, or people in Japan are now looking bad because it looks like they're not doing their job.

Within minutes of these videos being formally pulled down from Laforet's sites, they popped up on YouTube and are still there. What does this accomplish because it makes Canon USA look bad?

Fake Chuck Westfall has nailed this - so much so that I wonder if FCW isn't actually the real CW! - that it's worth reading FCW's post. (On Canon Taking Down Nocturne).

It's remarkable that Canon - poised on the verge to trump the Nikon D3s because of the chip and video capabilities differences - have stumbled over their own potential for greatness and now look like bumbling fools. It's like the prima ballerina being honored for her grace, tripping on the way up to the stage to accept the award.

This camera finalizes the concept of game changer that began with the 5D (that Laforet kicked off with Reverie), much like, frankly, the Nikon D3s will be a game changer - Bill Frakes did an amazing video with - yes - ballerinas - in Austrailia, see here. Canon Inc needs to see all of its' subsidiaries as it's children, and give them all the same amount of love, instead, Canon USA is being treated like the bastard step-child from a weekend fling, relegated to the basement, with an I-don't-care-about-the-possibilities attitude. No doubt, on the eve of PhotoPlus Expo, the Nikon folks will be chuckling under their breath at this catastrophic faux pas.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tick...Tick...Tick...Getty Images Cuts More Staff

When it was learned that Getty Images was shuttering its' entire wholly owned creative stock division, it didn't come as a surprise to me, in fact, it was expected. What is really disappointing is the "kum-ba-yah" message that Dunce-In-Residence CEO Jonathan Klein wrote, and which we posted recently, about how proud he was of his Getty team. He once again seems to have lulled people into a false sense of (job) security, only to pull the proverbial rug out from underneath the staff department that creates Getty's wholly-owned content.

By far though, the happiest person to see this department shuttered is likely to be well known baby photographer Penny Gentieu. Why?
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Gentieu sued Getty Images in January of 2000 because, well, she alleged that Getty was copying her best-selling images of babies that Getty had to split the royalties with, and re-created them with their wholly-owned creative content division so that they didn't have to share that revenue, and could keep the entire stock sale. (Indepth story/legal commentary here: Corporate Injustice: An Interview with Penny Gentieu).

Where I first learned of this today, was PDNPulse - Getty Images Comments on Creative Stock Layoffs - and one thing stood out for me - the Getty Statement that they likely begrudgingly made because "As a private company, we are not able to share any specifics as to the number of employees", they noted " the roles are global in nature..." Yes - sources have previously reported to me that some of Gettys' global staffers for the creative division were involved in studios in the Far East, where photographers cost only a few dollars a day, and who were busy creating wholly-owned content based upon the track record of images that required a split. These images were then integrated into the search results with higher placement, pushing further down the page (or even onto a secondary page) so that the sales where all the money went to Getty were more likely to be bought. Likely, if these staffers still existed, they're gone now.

As underperforming divisions continue to be analyzed, look for more Getty cuts/redundancies, and departments shuttered. Don't count it out of the realm of reality that, just as AOL purchased Time Warner and then Time Warner took over and is giving AOL grief for earnings these days, Getty Images - which bought iStockphoto, could wind up being the Rights-Managed step-child of iStockphoto in the future, answering to the penny-stock gods.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Laforet's Latest - Nocturne - The Embodiment of Motion Pictures

First there was Reverie from friend and colleague Vincent Laforet, which blew the doors off of video in the guise of a still camera. Then, like the wayward ingenue who makes her way to LA to become an actress, Laforet heads West to seek out visual stimulation in the form of motion pictures, yet he has a plan, and a laser-like focus, unlike the starry-eyed dream girl now waiting tables. Few people I can think of embody "motion pictures"- really, truly - like Vincent. His stories are absent dialog - yet compelling. Now, he presents Nocturne:

Nocturne from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

Some might say he's a night owl, and that's why he's working at night. I say that he's demoing the technology at a time when everyone criticizes a cameras failings - low light. It does help that he's a night owl too, of course. Put Vincent's creative mind to the test - low ambient light - no additive light, and then let lose a storyteller who is used to thinking in still images, and he makes every frame count - literally, and it shows in the final piece. Watch the piece once, and then watch it again for all the subtleties you missed the first time around. In fact, make sure you watch it in HD atleast once! (Full 1080p at SmugMug here). Vincent's blog has more details here - Lights Out, Camera, Action. Check it out, and watch the servers melt - this one's a game changer.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Re-Tooling the Message of Antipiracy Content Protection

Word matter. Fortunately, photographers have other creatives - musicians, movie-makers, and the like with far better organization that we can muster, and thus they can commission research about how to best convey the message that stealing intellectual property is bad. ASMP NY did a good job of illustrating the similarity between analog and online image theft, as we discussed recently. Yet, more can be done.
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Examples about in how, simply by making something sound and read differently through a linguistic change can make things more effective or appealing. Dr. Frank Luntz, author of one of my favorite books - "Words That Work", discussed this in great detail. "Gambling", for example, was changed to "Gaming" industry-wide. Liquor, as Luntz points out, has a negative connotation, and is now more positively referred to as "Spirits." The Republican's Contract With America was a brilliant move, including acts patriotically titled "The Taking Back Our Streets Act", and the "Personal Responsibility Act". Whether or not you like the Republicans, you have to give them their due for brilliant word-smithing on that front. Thus, just the momentum that comes from "helping orphans" is the basis for those on the "pro" side of the "Orphan Works Act", whenever it resurfaces.

Perhaps we should get it re-branded as something like "Photos for Free At the Expense of Artists Act" and see how far it goes? Maybe that's a bit wordy, but photographers are mis-percieved as cold because, well gosh, how can we be against something that's good for "orphans"?

As you work on your own branding and messaging to clients, be sure to be thoughtful in the words that you use and make sure they not only say what you mean, but also, that they work.

With thanks to Gail Mooney for the MPAA messaging tip.

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PLUS, No Minuses

PLUS - the Picture Licensing Universal System, has been busy, of late, they just haven't been tooting their horn. Despite Paul Melcher's perspective on "Plus or Minus?", suggesting they've been quiet, they've been busy. Unlike spotlight seekers, who tout the arrival of a 1.0.1 to a 1.0.2 release like it's the second coming, PLUS continues to move forward with little fanfare or spotlight seeking. Melcher is a bright guy, so perhaps his focus has been elsewhere and not had PLUS on his radar, so here's a review and different perspective for everyone's benefit.

Almost a year ago, PLUS quietly achieved a major milestone, getting the three major publishers - McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson to announce "they will adopt the PLUS Picture Licensing Glossary definitions in their contracts, and that they encourage image suppliers to begin embedding PLUS license metadata in all images within one year." At that time, Maria Kessler, President of the Picture Archive Association of America said, “We are very pleased that these major publishers – the largest image licensees in the industry – are aligned in their support of the PLUS standards.” While this may not have been on Melcher's radar 11 months ago, getting his new agency, Picture Group, to have PLUS-compliant licensing should be priority #1 if he hopes to license images to these publishers given their adoption schedules.

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In March of this year, IPNstock committed to integrate PLUS licensing standards, and with Getty and Corbis having been substantial supporters of PLUS over the years, you can bet that they are focused on meeting the needs of their major clients - the publishers above - as they work to integrate PLUS compliant licensing in time to effectively service those clients. In the coming years, look to see PLUS compliant drop-down menus in licensing modules at major stock agencies.

In June, Jim Cooks' Hindsight Software became the first software solution for photographers to create PLUS licensing with drop-down menus and metadata that was both cut-and-paste as well as exportable.

In July, the Professional School Photographers Association (PSPA) joined PLUS, "ensuring that school photographers and their customers will benefit from simplified communication of rights information and automated recognition of image licenses by photofinishing services, photofinishing machines and consumer photo printers." This will make it easier for people to know what they can and can't do with their school portraits when they're thinking about going to Wal-Mart to copy the 2x4 proof with the big "PROOF" stamped across it, as if it wasn't obvious enough already.

My book, Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition, uses heavily PLUS examples in the new chapter 26 of the book "Licensing Your Work", demonstrating how I have been using PLUS licensing for years, and which has been received with no objection by my clients over the years.

Melcher expresses concern that PLUS might feel beholden to ASMP because they have donated $85,000 and just announced a $150,000 contribution to PLUS. This is a small fraction of the monies PLUS has received from founders Getty, Corbis, Microsoft, and others, and further, PLUS has a 13 member board, only one of which is occupied by a photographers trade organization. Currently, that seat is occupied by ASMP, but it rotates to others over time.

Melcher also expresses concern about the PLUS-PicScout deal recently announced because it is an exclusive one. Right now, no other image tracking service is as big as PicScout in terms of images fingerprinted, and the integration between PLUS and PicScout requires a relationship exist for technology sharing and commitments of time and resources to make this happen. Further, just as Dell opted to go with Microsoft as the default operating system because it was needed to make the machines run, so too did PLUS need "someone" to do the fingerprinting, and PicScout apparently had the best to offer. Further, the exclusivity deal is not a "forever" deal just as Dell now sells other operating systems pre-installed, however the current deal certainly creates an atmosphere where PicScout can be candid with PLUS about capabilities to make this work - especially while PicScout is on the forefront of image recognition services.

What is not clear is how a PicScout image registry would compete with the PLUS image registry that is being funded by ASMP and APA, in part. What is clear though, is that there is no "mysterious agenda" on the part of PLUS. Melcher points to PLUS working with Creative Commons as one of their "strange relationships". Creative Commons, as much as I am not a fan of it, is popular among image users, and in order for PLUS to remain neutral in the advocacy arena when it comes to promoting photographers rights and income preservation, they must facilitate also what the end users of images need as well. PLUS makes things more clear and more concise when it comes to licensing, whether or not it is a $1M exclusive license of a celebrity photo from Picture Group, or a "for attribution" Creative Commons free license. In both cases, a PLUS license is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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NEWTECH - Cotton Carrier and SpiderPro Camera Carriers

The common refrain from photographers with a few years' experience lugging cameras with neck straps is how much their neck hurts. Sure, soft/plush/wide straps help, but the weight is still there, tugging at your neck.

Friend and colleague, Northern Virginia Photographer Mark Finkenstaedt, turned me on to these two cool solutions - the Cotton Carrier, and the Spider Pro carrier. The videos are pretty self-explanatory, and worth a watch:

For you RSS Feed readers, here's the SpiderPro video link, and here's the Cotton Carrier link.

In addition, you can check out their websites at, and We hope to get a chance to put these through their paces in our shop in the future, and if we do, we'll get a video out on them.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

NBC sued for Copyright Infringement over Fonts

It may seem unusual, but yes, those fonts you are using are graphic designs, and copyrightable. In fact, while Adobe owns a great many of them, Font Bureau owns - and creates - custom fonts for clients. Enter NBC, and their copyright/trademark/breach-of-contract, and so on. As Softpedia reports here, and The Business Insider here has the actual copyright registrations on display, and Ars Technica has another take here. With apologies in advance to our non-US readers, Saturday Night Live, one of the shows that is alledged to have used the fonts without a license, cracked a joke about the $2M in damages that Font Bureau is seeking - suggesting that NBC doesn't even have $2M to pay out:

The SNL joking about not having $2M wouldn't be so laughable if
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the entire Business Week brand hadn't just been sold by McGraw-Hill to Bloomberg for a paltry $5M. Really? $5M? Yes - according to the Wall Street Journal (here), the 80-year-old holding of McGraw-Hill is now a Bloomberg property. But I digress.

This should remind you that you can't just copy software package X from one computer to three without paying for more seats. Photoshop "helps" you with this, by requiring activation of your software, for example.

In this case, a font was purchased for use on one computer, and was used on multiple ones, and even - allegedly - distributed outside of the company. This would be like someone licensing your photo for a brochure in English, and then printing it in Spanish and French as well, figuring you'll never find out - hence, the value of discovery.

What's that, you say? "It's just a font - big deal!" Really? Try saying it this way "It's just a drawing of the letters of the alphabet - no one owns the alphabet!" Then, try that logic on "it's just a photo of the sky and the mountains, you can't copyright those things - they belong to everyone!"

The font is an artists' rendering of the letters of the alphabet in a unique and creative manner, just as that photo of Half Dome by Ansel Adams is more than a photo of a sky and a mountain.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Shepard Fairey v. AP ~ Fairey's Falsehoods and Fabrications

The Associated Press has released a statement regarding the case brought against them by Shepard Fairey. In a remarkable turn of events, according to the AP, "Shepard Fairey has now been forced to admit that he sued the AP under false pretenses by lying about which AP photograph he used to make the Hope and Progress posters." Further, the AP is stating that not only have Fairey's attorneys sought the permission of the court to withdrawl from the case, but that "Mr. Fairey has also now admitted to the AP that he fabricated and attempted to destroy other evidence in an effort to bolster his fair use case and cover up his previous lies and omissions."


Complete statement follows:
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Statement from Srinandan R. Kasi, VP and General Counsel, The Associated Press
Striking at the heart of his fair use case against the AP, Shepard Fairey has now been forced to admit that he sued the AP under false pretenses by lying about which AP photograph he used to make the Hope and Progress posters. Mr. Fairey has also now admitted to the AP that he fabricated and attempted to destroy other evidence in an effort to bolster his fair use case and cover up his previous lies and omissions.

In his Feb. 9, 2009 complaint for a declaratory judgment against the AP, Fairey falsely claimed to have used an AP photograph of George Clooney sitting next to then-Sen. Barack Obama as the source of the artist’s Hope and Progress posters. However, as the AP correctly alleged in its March 11, 2009 response, Fairey had instead used a close-up photograph of Obama from the same press event, which is an exact match for Fairey's posters. In its response, the AP also correctly surmised that Fairey had attempted to hide the true identity of the source photo in order to help his case by arguing that he had to make more changes to the source photo than he actually did, i.e., that he at least had to crop it.

After filing the complaint, Fairey went on to make several public statements in which he insisted that the photo with George Clooney was the source image and that “The AP is showing the wrong photo.” It appears that these statements were also false, as were statements that Fairey made describing how he cropped Clooney out of the photo and made other changes to create the posters.

Fairey’s lies about which photo was the source image were discovered after the AP had spent months asking Fairey's counsel for documents regarding the creation of the posters, including copies of any source images that Fairey used. Fairey's counsel has now admitted that Fairey tried to destroy documents that would have revealed which image he actually used. Fairey's counsel has also admitted that he created fake documents as part of his effort to conceal which photo was the source image, including hard copy printouts of an altered version of the Clooney Photo and fake stencil patterns of the Hope and Progress posters. Most recently, on Oct. 15, Fairey’s counsel informed the AP that they intended to seek the Court’s permission to withdraw as counsel for Fairey and his related entities.

The AP intends to vigorously pursue its countersuit alleging that Fairey willfully infringed the AP's copyright in the close-up photo of then-Sen. Obama by using it without permission to create the Hope and Progress posters and related products, including T-shirts and sweatshirts that have led to substantial revenue. According to the AP's in-house counsel, Laura Malone, "Fairey has licensed AP photos in the past for similar uses and should have done so in this case. As a not-for-profit news organization, the AP depends on licensing revenue to stay in business." Proceeds received for past use of the photo will be contributed by the AP to The AP Emergency Relief Fund, which assists staffers and their families around the world who are victims of natural disasters and conflicts.
Well, that about wraps things up for Fairey's claims - and now the AP will have a bunker full of ammunition against Fairey in seeking their countersuit.

AP Link to motions and exhibits here.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

BBP2 - Now A Best-Seller - Thanks!

Well, that didn't take long! Best Business Practices, Second Edition, is now a best-seller on Amazon:
In addition, it's always nice to see people making smart decisions, and including these two books together with BBP2 really does set you up for some solid business reading!
For now, Amazon has sold out on the book, however, it's available in brick-and-mortar bookstores now, and you can get on the list to get it once it's back in stock at Amazon!
Thanks again!

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Best Business Practices for Photographers - Second Edition

After three years, the second edition of Best Business Practices for Photographers is now out. Over 10,000 copies of "BBP1" have been sold, through multiple printings, and the book has remained a multiple-category best-seller on Amazon for three years. All I can say, is "thank you" to the readers!

Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition
So, with well over 10,000 photographers who already own BBP1, the question that will inevitably pop up is "what do I do with BBP1 if I get BBP2?" I submit that the answer is found in the last three words of both books - "Pay It Forward." There is a lot of information in BBP1, and I encourage you to pay it forward to someone you think will benefit from it. Ask that that person do the same when they have finished it. I'd really like to see people jott down their name in the book - like a library card - and let's see how many people the book gets passed on to as subsequent people benefit from the solid practices put forth the first time around. Now is the time to pay forward BBP1, and enjoy BBP2!

So, what's new in this edition, and what do those who have had an advance look at it have to say about it?

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As to sheer volume, the previous book was 352 pages, and this one weighs in at over 500 pages, and jumps from 26 chapters to 32 chapters. That said, a quality book does not survive on volume alone. What's actually been added/updated?

"Harrington’s book is a must-read -- a valuable resource for photographers of all levels and specialties."
~ Jeff Sedlik, Former President, Advertising Photographers of America

"This is the book every photographer needs. It reveals the terrible truth that taking the photograph is the easy part; dealing with business and legal issues make the difference between success and failure. This encyclopedic book is a vital reference I wish I had starting out 30 years ago."
~ Art Wolfe, photographer

Chapter 2: Transitioning to Freelance

In BBP1, this subject was addressed in just over a single page. Because of the significant changes that so many staff photographers have been subjected to, this subject spans an entire chapter. Of the utmost importance here, for you current staffers and non-staffers is information on how to assist the new-found freelancer entering into the community in a positive way.

Chapter 5: Working with Reps, Assistants, Employees, and Contractors: The Pitfalls and Benefits
In BBP1, the subject of working with others was just about assistants and contractors. In BBP2, we expand the chapter to include working with talent that will help you shape your marketing efforts, handle your negotiations, prepare your bids/estimates, and otherwise make your life easier all around. If you've ever said "I want a rep, how do I get one"; or "I have no idea how to prepare this estimate and handle the negotiations, nor do I ever want to", this chapter will be of great insight to you.

"I have given many talks at universities across America to students studying photography. I'm often asked the question 'what's the most important thing a photographer can do to prepare for this life' and I always say 'learn to run a small business.' John Harrington's book is that curriculum. You don't have to go to college. You don't have to major in small business administration, but you do have to read John Harrington's book. This is the bible of running a successful photography business."

~ Sam Abell, Photographer

John Harrington’s revised edition of his Best Business Practices for Photographers goes beyond a few timely updates. Using his own business experiences John has adjusted his business practices to the changing photography industry. Addressing topics such as “Pricing your work to stay in business”, the first hand – “Insights into am IRS audit”, and the timely “transitioning to Freelance”, for the newspaper staffers entering the self-employed business world. This book delivers the business information many of us have learned at the "school of hard knocks" and most photo schools don’t even offer, but with this book readers can learn how to build a successful career."

~ Richard Kelly, Photographer, Educator & President ASMP

Chapter 6: Setting Your Photographer’s Fees

In BBP1, Chapter 5 was devoted to "Pricing Your Work To Stay in Business", but that just wasn't enough. While that chapter remains, and can be seen more as an overview now, Chapter 6 helps you through the process of setting your own fees - fees that are right for you and your community. Yes, some numbers are presented, however since the cost of doing business in a small town in Iowa isn't the same as New York City, these are tools to help you determine your own best figures.

Chapter 10: Insurance: Why It's Not Just Health-Related, and How Your Should Protect Yourself

In BBP1, We talked about health, lhfe, disability, and business insurance. BBP2 includes explanations about errors and omissions insurance and umbrella policies.

"Pricing, contracts, copyright -- even IRS audits: If you are going to walk through the minefield that is the business of being a professional photographer, you'll want a good map. And 'Best Business Practices...' is exactly that."
~ David Hobby,

"It is no longer enough to be a creative photographer. The tough part is navigating through business deals and complicated contracts. John Harrington’s book will help readers to run a business as the age of the digital technologies reshapes the craft of photography at every level. The book is a virtual knowledge bank and will help readers think cleverly as they negotiate this highly competitive arena."

~ Ami Vitale, Photographer

Chapter 12: Insights into an IRS Audit

Sadly, my suffering is fodder for not just your entertainment, but also insights that might make your own audit experience less painful than mine. Though this chapter, you'll learn about some of the pitfalls I fortunately avoided, so that if you ever do get audited, you'll be the one being owed money (as I was).

Chapter 18: The Realities of an Infringement: Copyrights and Federal Court

As the ideas and plans or BBP1 were underway, one of the case studies I wanted to include was about how to send an official notice to get someone who is infringing your images taken down from a website. It slipped through the cracks, and I couldn't sneak it in at the last minute (I tried.) In BBP2, step by step, you'll see how to send that takedown notice (known as a DMCA takedown notice) and realize that it's actually easier than you thought.

"'Best Business Practices for Photographers' is not exactly a catchy title, but if you are starting as a professional shooter, or have been in the biz like me for over four decades, you better put down your camera and buy this book. I predict it will make your business better and more productive. When it does, drop me a line at: (get the link from his website) and give me one example of how it changed your life."

~ David Hume Kennerly, Pulitzer Prize Winner

"When I was in photo school I often asked for resources on how to run a photo business. Wish this book was available to me then. This is the best, one source for understanding the business of photography. From basic principles of bookkeeping to the open ended practice of pricing, this book provides many answers. For me the best updated information in John Harrington’s new edition of “Best Business Practices for Photographers” is in the area of licensing and how licensing needs to be a part of your fee structure. The inclusion of PLUS, Picture Licensing Universal System, in your business and licensing models is the best advice John has for the professional photographer. It will provide improved management of your licensed images well into the future. John truly contributes to the APA Mission of Successful Photographers."
~ Stephen Best, CEO, Advertising Photographers of America

Chapter 19: Releases: Model, Property, and Others

Search the index of BBP1 and the words "Model Release", or even "releases" don't appear. Last time around, I was so focused on the rest of the really important issues, that this one just slipped past me. This time, all different types of releases are discussed, including issues like trademarks and logos that appear in your photographs, that you thought you didn't have to worry about. (Hint: you do.) We even include a case study of one photographer who was sued because of the issues of releases when the subject was less than happy about how the photograph he signed a release for was used.

Chapter 26: Licensing Your Work

Just as with the addition of Chapter 6, the subject of this chapter was just a few pages in BBP1 Chapter 5, as a "licensing primer". Now, we've devoted over 40 pages to the very important issue of licensing, including tools to make licensing easier, more clear, and more concise. Software examples are shown that write licenses for you (free or for cheap), and even the wedding or family portrait photographer can benefit from clear "personal use" licenses, so clients don't think they can do whatever they want with the images (like sell their images as stock or make multiple prints at the local photo lab.)

"This book is a must-have for EVERY photographer, amateur or pro, who wants to maximize income with photography. Harrington breaks down the mystery of pricing, negotiation, contracts and client relationships with real-life examples and provides an excellent template for a stable-growth business method. Also, one of the most important and often neglected aspects of photography, COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION, is addressed in depth including the new eCO electronic filing system. The first edition of this book has been a go-to reference for me for the past few years and this expanded and updated version will be in my office as soon as it is published. There is no doubt that Best Business Practices for Photographers will pay for itself thousands-fold."

~ Chris Usher, Photographer

"John Harrington has added so much information in his second edition that is relevant to the business climate of photography today. The new edition will be especially helpful to photojournalists who need to be prepared for the future in a changing profession. This needs to be on the bookshelf of every student and photographer."

~ Dr. Bob Carey, President, National Press Photographers Association

Chapter 27: Stock Solutions: Charting Your Own Course without the Need for a “Big Fish” Agency

The field of solutions has narrowed since BBP1, and we've expanded on our thoughts since that edition. Further, BBP2 readers have a special offer from one of the solutions that is a part of this chapter.

Chapter 31: Expanding Into Other Areas of Creativity

In BB1 we didn't discuss the possibility that you would be expanding your creative offerings to include video or working on a book deal. Yet, many photographers are finding these profitable ancillary avenues of both revenue and client service. As such, we've included discussions and suggestions on these topics in their own chapter.

"From my perspective of 40-plus years in photography -- as shooter, picture editor and director of photography -- "Best Business Practices..." is fantastic. This book provides great insights into the business of photography, and much more. With the photography business in a state of flux, 'Best Business Practices...' should be at the top of every photographer's reading list."

~ Kent Kobersteen, former Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine.

"John's book is a necessity for every professional photographer! It could well be one of the greatest business resources available, helping you get through unfamiliar challenges from IRS Audits, licensing your work to developing a relationship with your rep and more. Most photographers are creative and right brain driven - here's the food your left brain forgot to tell you about!"

~ Skip Cohen, President, Marketing Essentials International

I am extremely excited about the extensive addition on matters like licensing your work, and establishing your fees. In addition, with the economy the way it is right now, and has been for some time, the chapter on transitioning to freelance is essential not just for the new-found freelancer, but also a good prep for the current staffer, so they are prepared in case things change for them.

Chase Jarvis, over on his blog, posted a review where he, in part wrote:

"I think Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition is essential reading for anyone even thinking about licensing an image, starting a business in photography, or dreaming of taking their photo game 'pro'."

If, in truth, BBP1 has made a difference in your career/approach/longevity in your career, I encourage you to take up David Hume Kennerly's offer to write him and share with him the difference the first edition of the book has made. I didn't ask David to put that out, and was pleasantly surprised when he did. So, send him a note, and CC me on it. Knowing that good things are coming from these books is what makes them worth doing.

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, October 9, 2009

Getty Images - Business Fantasy Update

For those of you Getty-ites who are no longer in the seemingly ever-shrinking inner circle of Getty Images, you're likely missing the pie-in-the-sky missives from the Wizard himself, Mr. Jonathan Klein. Kleins' delusions musings about the future of the stock photography industry and Getty's place in it is like watching a CNBC panelist advise you to buy AIG:

Mr. Klein and the green-eyeshade brigade have resplendent ideas that are more in line with the musings of the great Hunter Thompson while on a bender with Amy Winehouse. Yet, because of his pedigree (not to mention the fact that his title is co-founder and CEO) the dwindling masses of Getty true-believers (note - those are the people who have not gone through their intervention yet) drink Kleins' missives as Jim Jones followers drank his Kool-Aid.

In recent days, Klein has, like Moses from on high, handed down what he terms his "Business Update", with a variety of confidences and pride that are best saved for the likely future screenplay - Fear and Loathing in Seattle. (Hint - that's the fear his writings could convey in the form of more layoffs, and the loathing the sobered-up employees have after the bender juice wears off). Reading the missive, and the commentary that follows it, you'll realize these analogies are not too far off their mark.

If you want to read the musings of Mr. Klein, feel free to read on:
(Continued after the Jump)

Business Update

Jonathan Klein Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

Hello from New York!

I have just returned from a busy week in Seattle with the Senior Leadership Team. We met to share ideas, plan for 2010, get complete clarity about the strategy and vision and, finally, to spend time together as we had not met since April of last year. The feedback we have received from the attendees was absolutely clear – it was a great week and one of the best SLT meetings in the history of the company. It is important that I share with the whole company some of the key issues that were covered.During the meetings, we spoke candidly about where we are today. But more importantly, we focused on the opportunities ahead in 2010, and the significant investment we will be making in our future.

2010: Investing in our Future Growth

Simply put, 2009 has brought unprecedented changes to Getty Images, and the world. To name just a few: we have experienced a meltdown in the economy, a collapse in financial markets, acceleration in the decline of print advertising, and that is just for starters. We have taken our company private, obtained new owners, added a number of great SVPs (all of whom were internal promotions), reduced headcount, had a major clampdown on spending, acquired our second largest competitor, accelerated the integration of that business, brought in management consultants, paid no bonuses, decided not to give pay raises, froze pension matches in the US and launched many new initiatives, including with Flickr, with our partners from Time and now Daylife. If that was not enough, we worried about revenues since the beginning of the year and completely realigned our budget to respond to the environment.

Just reading this far-from-comprehensive list is quite exhausting. Yet, I could not be prouder of our team – employees at all levels of our company – in both HOW we have managed these and other events, as well as WHAT we have done. The way we behave matters and the Leadership Principles have always been, and will continue to be, the filter through which we have made tough decisions.

The choices we’ve made have been the right ones. I am absolutely confident that we have done almost everything right in this recession to be positioned well when it ends.

2010: Investing in our Future Growth

Businesses are using imagery more than ever. This is great news for us, but it also means that we must shift our business model and change the way we operate to more directly align with how our customers use imagery, and where our business is going.

The major trends we are seeing in our business today are:

· Traditional creative stills (RM and RF) is becoming a smaller part of our business. Our customers use more imagery online, which means more volume, but at a lower price. Big-spend print campaigns are not dead, but there are certainly fewer.

· iStockphoto is the fastest growing part of our business. It is expected to hit $200 million in revenue this year – that is growth of more than 35 percent.

· Editorial imagery (news, sport, entertainment and archive) is also growing. We are taking market share and will grow significantly when market conditions improve and also when there are more major sports events next year. We were once thought of as outsiders in this area, and we are now regarded as stewards and leaders. There are many countries in which we can achieve major growth in this area.

· Newer and higher-growth businesses are key to our success. Yes, and our partnership with Daylife are highly strategic. But this is not just about the “sexy new stuff.” It is about the businesses that have enormous growth opportunities, like footage, music, news, sport, entertainment, and Media Manager. We also see growth potential in the Media and Corporate segments, as well as in certain countries and regions.

These trends, among others, have led us to our Key Initiatives and Overriding Objective for 2010.

Overriding Objective: Achieve company-wide revenue growth

Getty Images did not grow overall revenues in 2009. We must be a growing business, and we must increase our revenue in 2010.

Through continued focus on the Leadership Principles, our five Key Initiatives for 2010 will be:

1. Implement Project Perspective

About four months ago, we brought in a leading global management-consulting firm, Bain & Company , to help us look hard at areas where we can and should improve. Bain gave us a fresh, outside perspective on how our business is run. They focused mainly on the areas of sales, finance, and editorial and creative operations. I think it’s important to note that, unlike many businesses that Bain are brought in to review, they quickly realized that our business was tightly run and managed, and there were far fewer savings to be had than they had originally anticipated. That said, the plan is now complete, and now we begin doing what we do very well – execution and implementation.

The main outcome of Project Perspective is the crucial need to drive our customers to increase the amount of unassisted sales so that we can remove the administrative burdens that currently fall on our sales and finance organizations. In order to do this properly and responsibly, our infrastructure must be improved. This means we will be increasing our normal technology investment by approximately $6 million, or 25 percent, to complete infrastructure and technology projects. Many of these projects have been waiting for years to be completed, and we will now finish this work, enabling us to be a more efficient business. Project Perspective takes us from being the best in our industry, to becoming the best in any industry, from both a back end and customer facing perspective. It is a continuation of the work we have done to make it easier for customers to purchase from us, as well as to convert prospective buyers into Getty Images customers.

The timing is right. As a private company, we can now focus on our long-term strategy and invest in our business for growth. It’s important to mention that implementing Project Perspective will take time; there will be much more information coming to you soon as the plans are put into place, so stay tuned.

2. Build the market-leading subscription business

Subscription is a fast growing part of the market, and an area where we have had a long-standing gap in our product portfolio. Jupiterimages Unlimited brings a very good base from which to start, but we will create an entirely new subscription business that builds upon it. This new subscription product will be a major initiative, with significant marketing support. It also represents a major collaboration between Getty Images and iStockphoto. We may not be number one in subscription – YET – but we know how to get there and will get there.

3. Sell all products in all markets

As I noted earlier, traditional creative stills continues to decline, and even if we see a bump in revenue here after the recdssion, we must expect that the trends will continue for it to be a smaller part of our overall business. Yet we know customers are using more imagery than ever, and want our services across the board. This means we must sell more products to drive growth. We have seen some great success with some of the new pricing models for creative imagery, with cross-selling footage, music and our other products in 2009 – and we must accelerate that in 2010. Offering ALL our customers ALL our products and services in ALL segments and in ALL countries remains critical.

4. Enhance and build on iStockphoto's leading position in microstock and as the digital content destination for designers

iStockphoto is the fastest growing part of our business, and it is the market-leader in microstock. But we cannot be complacent. We must embrace microstock, and we must evolve it. There are many synergies with the rest of the company that we will capitalize upon, especially in marketing, product development and technology. Additionally, designers are a growing segment for us, and iStockphoto has great brand and market position to allow us to broaden our product offering with this customer base.

5. Improve website conversion rates

In recent months, we have seen significant success in growing traffic to our sites. However, we are facing challenges converting these visitors into buyers. This is not just a website issue – it’s also about product, pricing and licensing models. This Key Initiative dovetails directly with implementing Project Perspective – converting visitors into purchasers on our website means more unassisted sales. This is key to our long-term business, growing revenue and growing our business.

You may see an overall theme emerging from our 2010 Key Objectives and Initiatives – in fact, it was also the overall theme of our recent SLT meetings – Investing in Growth. After one year of being a private company, and after navigating the rough road of 2009, we can and must think strategically, long-term, big picture.

In the last few months, the bad news has come in droves. But optimism has played a key role in getting us through these tough times, and I am proud of the way we have handled it. It is up to all of us to continue to step up and inspire excellence. As we head into 2010, I look to each of you to collectively embrace optimism and to increase our standards of performance. We must also continue to maintain our strong focus on the Leadership Principles. They have been a key part of our company for eight years now, and have been essential to navigating the tricky times of the past 18 months. I am very proud of this, and am more certain than ever that we murt continue to adhere to them as we turn our focus to growing the business.

Finally, on a personal note, thanks so much for being on my team during this period. I know you are all working harder than ever, you have sacrificed personal time and put more of yourself into our company than ever before – this has not gone unnoticed. We will emerge from this year and this recession a much stronger company.

Getty Images will be 15 years old next year and this is the best team we have ever had at the helm. 2010 will be a big year for us, and I look forward to the important work we will do together.

Thank you,

Jonathan Klein

Co-founder and CEO

Let's take break out a few things, worthy of commentary:

Suggestions about being " of the best SLT meetings in the history of the company" and ending with "Getty Images will be 15 years old next year and this is the best team we have ever had at the helm" is hyperbole at its' best. This double-use of the word "best" is just laughable when you look at the history of the company, in the high-flying days when the company was at $92 a share on open market.

Usually, when someone in the higher echelons of a company writes "Simply put, 2009 has brought unprecedented changes to Getty Images, and the world", they are speaking in the positive sense. Yet, the "unprecedented" is in reference to the negative aspects "meltdown in the economy" and "acceleration in the decline of print advertising" and others. He goes on to talk about all the great SVPs they've hired, and then holds out the hope to those who did not get a promotion that theirs just might be coming, when he writes "(all of whom were internal promotions)". Nice way to hold out hope. He goes on with the superlatives "Yet, I could not be prouder of our team – employees at all levels of our company – in both HOW we have managed these and other events, as well as WHAT we have done. " Really? How about the pride you had when you aquired WireImage, team members that secured sports league contracts, and so on? You're prouder now than before? Really?

Klein acknowledge the obvious when he notes "Traditional creative stills (RM and RF) is becoming a smaller part of our business" followed by "iStockphoto is the fastest growing part of our business. It is expected to hit $200 million in revenue this year – that is growth of more than 35 percent", but what he does not do is link the two. The growth of iStockphoto has been at the expense of the RM/RF image revenues. Thus, a 35% growth of 10,000 $1 sales means you grew your business at the expense of about 4 of your previously stated average RM sale of $970. Wow, that's great!

Klein states "Getty Images did not grow overall revenues in 2009. We must be a growing business, and we must increase our revenue in 2010. " Good luck on that one. With the growth of $1 images, and the decline (in several cases self-inflicted price-point declines) of RM image licenses, I don't see how that can happen.

Klein acknowledges that they had Bain & Co in, in an effort to slash costs. Their conclusion? not much fat on the bone to cut. You could have saved a lot of money if you had just asked your over-worked photographers and front-line editors who would have told you this, and then maybe they could have gotten those bonuses you said you didn't pay.

Klein discusses their goal to "build the market-leading subscription business", which has been the laughing stock of many of your contributors, who point to $0.46 payments from these business models as the real analysis of where stock photography is going - down the tubes.

Klein cites the reality that "traditional creative stills continues to decline, and even if we see a bump in revenue here after the recession, we must expect that the trends will continue for it to be a smaller part of our overall business." Hmmm, does that mean you're done wreaking havoc in this market and you're headed off to ruin other markets in the same way?

It was just a short time ago Getty's new website was touted to have "Numerous enhancements make it easier than ever to find a specific image or discover an expanded selection of relevant visuals", and "Extensive customer input and usability studies informed the development of Getty Images' added site features", with Klein being quoted as saying “We owe our customers a great deal of credit for this innovative rebuild...[t]heir input and expertise has allowed us to preserve the strengths of the old site and introduce a host of new features, resulting in a more agile and interactive that is uniquely equipped to enrich the current and future communications landscape.” Yet, in the missive above, Klein acknowledges "we are facing challenges converting these visitors into buyers. This is not just a website issue..." - thus, this great website is an issue, and it's not the only one. I thought you said your customers told you what they want - and now they don't want it? Which one is it?

Klein begins to close the piece "In the last few months, the bad news has come in droves. But optimism has played a key role in getting us through these tough times, and I am proud of the way we have handled it. " I would submit that it's not the optimism of your staff that got your remaining staff through the tough times, but rather, fear of being unemployed, and their loathing for the guy that has carried their company into the gutter and created a laughing stock. Hey, there's something - can you monetize humor? I think there are laugh-tracks you could hawk for a few pennies over at Pump Audio!

Klein closes with "Getty Images will be 15 years old next year and this is the best team we have ever had at the helm. " Really? Kids at 15 are just getting their learners permit, and you seem to have driven Getty into a ditch, spinning your wheels in the process because there wasn't an experienced adult at the helm. Too bad you can't actually be required to have a license to do what you do, otherwise those along for the ride wouldn't have seen your company dash their dreams. As the elderly are eventually required to turn in their licenses when they are a danger to themselves and those operating within their proximity, perhaps someone should come to you, Mr. Klein, pat your on the back, and tell you your time to run the Getty ship is over, given the damage your business models have done.

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, October 8, 2009

PicScout Goes On Offense - But Can it Score?

Since the inception of the PicScout service, which scours the web fingerprinting images and locating the uses (and occasional unauthorized use) of their clients images, PicScout's service has been a defensive mechanism. There was no solution that actually helped connect image buyers to rights holders. Until now.

PicScout announces a product they are calling "Image IRC". The IRC stands for "Index Registry Connection", describing the process. The question at hand is - who will pay for this service, and is the process of actually enabling it so onerous, that it is a flash in the pan? Of greater importance though, is as much as it might help photographers - could some of their tactics damage the stock photography market?

(Continued after the Jump)

In a briefing I recieved last week from PicScout, I was impressed that PicScout has gone on the offense, looking to create a positive encounter with clients, rather than the potential adversarial scenario that would exist when the image user is being caught using the image without permission, and PicScout stepping in.

Let's take a look at the promise of Image IRC. searching for images in a web browser can lead to legal problems for people who don't use images with the proper licenses. What if, however, when you searched Google Images, a small "i" overlay appeared on images for which there was licensing of that image with just a few clicks?

Further, what if you were reading an article on a website anywhere, and decided you wanted to license the image that was in that article for your own specific needs?

No need for hunting, searching for the exact image - just click the "i" icon that is there, and you are a mouse-click or two from licensing and downloading the image - legally - for your own needs. By clicking on the "i", a panel like at right (illustrated based upon our preview) would appear as a pop-up. To see larger examples, PicScout has provided us with screen grabs. Here is a screen grab without the plug-in installed. Here is the result with the plug-in installed, and here is the result when you click on the "i".

Pretty cool, yes?

Not so fast. the challenge here, is that, you won’t see the “i” unless you have first proactively downloaded and installed the PicScout Image IRC plugin into your browser(s). No plug-in, no “i”, no image license opportunity. There is no actual integration with Google Images.

In order for any photographer to benefit from Image IRC the Image Buyer (IB) must:
  1. be aware that Image IRC exists
  2. be convinced that IRC is a good thing and that there is a benefit to them to install and use, even though only a tiny percentage of images on the web will be identifiable using IRC.
  3. convince their IT department to commit resources to testing and approving the plugin for adoption and installation in the browsers of computers on the corporate network.
  4. be looking at an image that happens to have been submitted to PicScout by a photographer or stock agency and then fingerprinted by PicScout.
  5. desire to pay to license the image.
In a one-person office, installing an application or plugin is a fairly simple process. Unfortunately for PicScout and Image IRC, the installation of plug-ins is anything but simple in the corporate environment, where network policy almost always prohibits image buyers and other employees from installing plug-ins in their browsers. IT watchdogs are extremely wary of plug-ins and are unlikely to allow plug-ins to be installed into client computers on the network. This will be a very significant hurdle for PicScout - getting professional image buyers to install the IRC plug-in, without which image buyers will be unable to use Image IRC. If image buyers at the ad agencies, design firms, publishers and other major corporations don’t adopt and install image IRC in droves, photographers and stock agencies will be no closer than they are today to monetizing their images scattered around the web, and will derive little benefit from Image IRC.

Take, for example, Flash. With tens of thousands of cutting-edge developers building content that required Flash, and most of the coolest websites not only requiring flash, but requiring you to "click here to download and install the Flash Player", it still took a decade for Flash to be a mostly transparent part of the browsing experience, as javascript has been almost since the beginning. PicScout does not have these tens-of-thousands of developers, which creates implementation problems.

Image IRC is a very niche product/service, that, while a good concept, is likely to fail due to lack of adoption by buyers.

Would I like to see it adopted? At first, my response was a hearty "Yes - anything that will connect photographers and image buyers to make a sale, I am in favor of."

Then, I took a closer look at PicScout’s recent marketing, which reveals a bombshell:

PicScout is evidently intent upon launching and encouraging an unprecedented and aggressive promotion of free ($0) image licenses, that is ultimately targeted at the very same clients that professional photographers and stock agencies depend upon for their livelihoods. This seems contrary to the potential good of Image IRC for photographers/rights-holders, because if PicScout truly cared about professional image makers who earn a living making and licensing images, they wouldn’t be serving up millions of free Creative Commons images to our clients on a silver platter - especially since there's no apparent revenue stream for them in licensing images that are free. With this in mind, I would be very surprised and disappointed to see any photography trade organization endorse a PicScout service that openly promotes and facilitates widespread free usage of images in competition with pro photographers, within the same user interface. If PicScout succeeds in its efforts to help our clients identify and use millions of free images, PicScout might well be to blame for driving the final nail into the coffin of the independent professional photographer. There's no money in being the facilitator of licensing free images - for anyone.

Which brings me to the cost part of the equation.

One of the questions I asked PicScout was “who will pay for this service?” (hint - no one, if the photos are free!) Though, apparently, they haven't quite worked that the dollars and sense cents on this yet. One idea would be for the photographers to pay for fingerprinting and tracking, and the appearance of the “i”. This would be cost prohibitive for me, and for almost any photographer, and is the reason that I don’t currently pay for PicScout’s web spidering and enforcement services. In addition, the fact that PicScout also requires that photographers agree to allow PicScout to exclusively handle any resulting litigation and settlement discussions (and take a huge chunk of the resulting award/settlement) also doesn't sit well with me. One other idea floating around is that PicScout wouldn't take anything up front, but take a percentage (which should be under 5% in my opinion) of the license fee resulting from the image buyer clicking on the “i” and then licensing the image.

As I said - this hasn't been decided yet, and even if PicScout succeeds in getting significant numbers of professional image buyers to install the plug-in, they will not succeed unless they come up with a pricing solution that convinces photographers and stock agencies to buy into their service and submit large quantities of images.

PicScout's own FAQ outlines who their general audience is, when posing this question and answer:
How many images do I need to sign up for your services?

The quick and easy answer is that we've found the cost-benefit tradeoff to be around 30,000 images, which is currently our minimum requirement to use our services. If you have less than that, chances are that you will pay for more than what you'll get in return...Stock photo agencies and higher-end commercial photographers tend to be typical candidates for our services for these reasons."
So, it seems that the average photographer as an independent is not their audience.

Further compounding the problem – when a user searches Google Images and the search yields thousands of images, that user is unlikely to browse past the first 3 pages, and many users never go beyond page 1. How many images on that page will happen to include the PicScout “i?” Using Image IRC without a Google partnership will require that image buyers wade through page after page of Google Image sludge, with only an occasional image happening to have been registered with PicScout, and thus displaying the Image IRC “i”.

Of course, adoption by Google would go a long way toward solving that issue, but Google is apparently not buying into Image IRC. Given that Google’s business model is almost entirely focused on advertising revenues, a partnership between PicScout and Google is unlikely. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

I am doubtful that this great idea will succeed. I am hopeful that I am wrong, and I am really really hopeful that they will not be a part of promoting free images.


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.