Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 79324 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2017-06-26 08:58:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-26 12:58:06 [post_content] => I recently was invited to review the latest Tamron offering: the 70-200mm f/2.8 G2 lens. Before I get into what I found, I want to give a little insight into myself and my testing methodology, as this will likely be different then most reviews you have read.First and foremost, there are some amazingly well-rounded technical gear reviewers out there. The last thing I want to do is add another “technical” review to the pile. Instead, I want to give you my real world impressions as a wedding, event and commercial photographer by using the lens in the field. I know, personally, when I’m researching a piece of gear to buy, I research it online, browse (quickly) for any important specs, then dig deep to explore how it actually works in the real world. So that’s how I am going to convey my experiences.[caption id="attachment_79332" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo by Brian Mullins[/caption]With that said, I'm primarily a Nikon lens shooter, so my impressions are coming from that side of the fence. Having shot the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRI and VRII for the past 12 years, I'm very familiar with the operation, strengths and weaknesses of the Nikon lenses, so I’ll be framing this discussion using that as my reference point.Now let’s get into it. I field-tested the Tamron 70-200mm at an “event” (graduation ceremony for a University where all of the events are held indoors) which I have shot for the past five years at the same location with roughly the same type of events taking place. So, I have a good sense of what I could and couldn't pull off in the past with the gear I've used. Also, this lens was used on my Nikon D750 and all of my shots were taken on that camera.
Let's first address a few key differences: - A temporary but adaptable difference is the reversal of the zoom and focus rings from the Nikon 70-200mm VRII. I know they reversed the lens configuration on the new Nikon FL lens, but it’s frustrating as I was learning to adapt in a dynamic environment and would occasionally grab the wrong ring.- The lens hood for the Tamron is quite a bit longer then the Nikon VRII, but the actual lens itself is shorter. This makes it just about even in total length when using the lens hood.[caption id="attachment_79335" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo by Brian Mullins[/caption][caption id="attachment_79334" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo by Brian Mullins[/caption]Now the first thing I noticed is that the lens focusing is FAST! The focusing speed surpasses my Nikon 70-200mm VRII by quite a bit and gave me the opportunity to hit shots that I haven’t been able to in previous years. It's also really accurate, which is more about the camera then the lens, but the Nikon D750/Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2 combo was a real winner for the fast paced environment I was in. For example:[caption id="attachment_79336" align="alignnone" width="1024"] This photo was taken on an “assembly line” of 150 people passing food bags from the left to the right. I had to scan the entire length of the table, move the camera, focus and shoot in the time it took for them to pass a bag across from each other. Not an easy shot to capture without “asking” for it. Photo by Brian Mullins (f2.8, 1/200, ISO 1600).[/caption]The “color” of this lens also surprised me. The event in the photo above was shot at a very large event hall, with, of course, terrible lighting conditions. I used an on-camera flash (Flashpoint R2) and a Magmod 1/4 CTO gel to help balance the flash color with the ambient. It gave me great contrast with good color and no “blooms” or washed out appearances. The bokeh quality at f/2.8 was also impressive. Very smooth defocusing with little to no geometric shapes or shifts. Here’s another photo from the same room:[caption id="attachment_79326" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo by Brian Mullins (2.8, 1/160, ISO 1600)[/caption]This lens also addresses one of my major gripes: the minimum focus distance. However, I was able to get far closer to a subject with the Tamron 70-200mm then with the Nikon 70-200mm VRII. This allowed for some additional flexibility when I was working in tight spaces.[caption id="attachment_79327" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo by Brian Mullins (2.8, 1/250, ISO 1600)[/caption]I definitely put this lens through its paces at this graduation event, going into lots of different lighting scenarios including full stage lighting, fluorescent lighting, mixed tungsten with window light, backlight, full flash, etc. I didn't have any flaring issues nor did I have to correct any chromatic aberration with bright or backlit subjects.[caption id="attachment_79337" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo by Brian Mullins (2.8, 1/250, ISO 1600)[/caption]So you’ve heard me bleat on about the good things about this lens. There are lots of them, not to mention being less than half the price of the newest Nikon 70-200mm. However, there was one frustrating thing as well: the lens control switches.To be honest, they seem like an afterthought for what is otherwise a well constructed and thought out lens. The vibration and focus control switches are not recessed far enough, and accidental mode changes did happen while using it. I was carrying my cameras on a Holdfast Moneymaker strap, and the motion against my leg would, apparently, bump a switch or even switches. The easy fix is to apply gaffers tape but, call a purist, I don’t want to tape over my switch positions in case I needed to make a fast change or—to be honest—make my clients think I have to gaff tape my lenses to make them work.Other then that, this lens is going to give Nikon a real run for its money, and I am a huge Nikon fan, so that's definitely saying something. [post_title] => Meet the Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 G2: A Real World Review [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => meet-the-tamron-70-200mm-f2-8-g2-a-real-world-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-25 14:36:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-25 18:36:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=79324 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 77604 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2017-03-28 11:38:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-28 15:38:31 [post_content] => One of the most innovative aspects of photography today is the groundbreaking product taking the industry by storm. Here are 7 photo startups destined for greatness, in no particular order. [caption id="attachment_77611" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] By Emil Rivera[/caption]If you’re anything like me, you probably think style and capacity are the only differences in camera bags. Well, in that case, you will likely change your mind once you check out Peak Design’s amazingly versatile and smart ways to carry and protect your gear.With mounting systems for cameras, GoPros, and even binoculars, Peak Design is redefining the camera carrying and mounting paradigm while catering to consumers and professionals alike. Its “capture” clip can mount to a belt, a backpack strap, or even a shoulder bag, allowing you to carry your camera gear in almost any which way you please. In addition, its camera sling is convertible, allowing you to use it as a traditional cross body sling, neck strap or even a shoulder strap. And if mounting systems aren’t enough to get you interested, they also have shoulder bag and backpack offerings that bring the same level of flexibility, thought and intelligent design. [caption id="attachment_77606" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] By Emil Rivera[/caption]Good gallery has defined itself as a website with incredible features and amazing performance, specifically designed for professional photographers. In fact, it was even designed from the ground up by professional photographer Rob Greer, so speed, image quality, SEO, mobile awareness, and security take precedent.With clients including industry greats such as Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela, Parker Pfister, Susan Stripling, Cliff Mautner, and Dina Douglass, to name a few, it’s also capable of hosting Wordpress blogging software, pairing flexibility with its impeccable image display quality. Even more, it helps you target your SEO niches and offers a very descriptive instruction guide for setting up and maintaining your website. In addition, Good Gallery is constantly adding new features and impressive client stories, highlighting better quality leads, lower bounce rates, longer view times, and ranking higher for SEO keywords. [caption id="attachment_77607" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] By Emil Rivera[/caption]JPEGmini is out to redefine image compression for websites and photographers. With their patent pending technology, they boast the ability to shrink any jpeg file by up to 600 percent while retaining image quality, color accuracy and, perhaps most impressively, large size print reproduction. Ever watch the show Silicon Valley? Well, just think Pied Piper for photography.From its website: “The technology works in the domain of baseline JPEG, resulting in files that are fully compatible with any browser, photo software or device that support the standard JPEG format. JPEGmini is capable of reducing the file size of standard JPEG photos by up to 80 percent (5X), while the resulting photos are visually identical to the original photos. The JPEGmini algorithm imitates the perceptual qualities of the human visual system, ensuring that each photo is compressed to the maximum extent possible by removing redundancies, without creating any visual artifacts in the process. This enables fully automatic, maximal compression of photos with no human intervention required.” [caption id="attachment_77609" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] By Emil Rivera[/caption]The Lume Cube is a light that packs all of the features every professional photographer and videographer wants in a small package. Lightweight, powerful, dim-able, remotely controllable (up to 100 at once), and waterproof, it’s certainly rich with features without draining your wallet. As a 1.5-inch cube with a 1500 lumen LED bulb, which provides 150 lux at nine feet (100 lux is a dark, overcast sky), you wont be using it to light up a noon day portrait, yet the dusk and nighttime applications are very impressive. And when coupled with its GoPro Kit, the ability to take it anywhere (even underwater), opens up lighting applications in environments that would otherwise devour traditional photography or videography setups.While the constant light source is super handy, this light packs yet another surprise: it has the ability to strobe (also at 150 lux) between 1/250th to one second when triggered optically. The battery duration is two hours at 50 percent or 30 minutes at 100 percent, but when using it underwater, you can stretch that time up to an hour because of the additional heat dissipation. Currently, Lume Cube has a wide rage of offerings for attaching various surfaces and devices, including smart phones, drones, and GoPros, and is currently working on additional lighting modifiers to further push its functionality and usability. [caption id="attachment_77610" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] By Emil Rivera[/caption]The idea behind MagMod came from humble beginnings, as photographers yearned to use a gel and grid on the same off-camera speedlight. After losing the gel (because the Velcro attachment system was wonky at best), the product’s creator, Spencer Boerup, started thinking of better ways to accomplish this relatively simple feat. Shortly after, he had an idea: magnets.After a couple of quick sketches, Boerup realized that not only could he accomplish this goal, but could come up with a universal fit for any speedlight. And though he started and stopped the original MagMod (the MagGrid) about six times, he vowed to push ahead, which led to the creation of his prototype. He then shopped it around to a few of his photographer friends, and once they said they’d use it, Boerup had an actual production model made.The rest is, well, history. The original MagMod Kickstarter project was fully funded in less then five hours, reaching 600 percent of its $25,000 goal by the time it was completed. Since then, it’s shot onto the scene without ceasing to develop new products, including MagGrid, MagSnoot, MagBounce and MagSphere. You’d think that was maybe the end, but they just released the MagBeam, which allows gobos to be used on a strobe as well. This Kickstarter project reached 1000 percent of its goal and, after talking with Boerup, they have a lot more products currently in development (teaser: light shaping for softer, more diffused applications). [caption id="attachment_77608" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] By Emil Rivera[/caption]Light, as we all know, is what makes photography possible. So I think it’s a very appropriate name for one of the most promising pieces of hardware I’ve seen in recent years. With a total of 16 cameras at multiple focal lengths, the light camera gives DSLR quality photos unparalleled flexibility to edit its images in post-production.While we all love creating magic in Photoshop, Light takes this to an entirely new level. With the ability to alter noise levels, as well as focal plane and depth-of-field, after you’ve taken the photo, it’s a game changer indeed. Each photo taken uses up to 10 of its 16 cameras to capture scenes in multiple formats, then fuses the image to give you a high quality (up to 52MP) photo with a 5x optical zoom (with zero image degradation). These multiple cameras also allow for amazing low light photography, all in a package similar to the size to a smartphone. [caption id="attachment_77605" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] By Emil Rivera[/caption]Fundy Software has been around for a while and has always been on the cutting-edge with its album design software. Earlier this year, the company dropped a huge bombshell by adding an “auto-design” button. Yes, that’s right, auto-design for your photo albums. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re currently working on adding more functionality to not only that, but to more tricks in their gallery designer that allows you to show clients what a photo would like in their home using a picture they send in of the space.On a side note, if you haven't used this software for in-person sales (or even remote sales), you're going to kick yourself. In two remote sessions, I’ve sold over $1300 in prints to people who weren't even in my studio. [post_title] => 7 Photo Startups Destined For Greatness [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 7-photo-startups-destined-for-greatness [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-28 12:22:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-28 16:22:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=77604 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 70702 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2016-09-12 20:04:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-13 00:04:52 [post_content] =>
Sometimes, things happen in the wedding photography business that not only immediately grab your attention but will make you scream at the top of your lungs, possibly give you a cold sweat and definitely question why anyone would choose to be a wedding photographer. Adverse client altercations that get publicized happen to be one of those things that not only can totally defeat your creative sensibilities, but attract the most negative online publicity and unsolicited "expert opinions" that can completely damage your reputation. You may remember hearing about one of these widely publicized situations last year - the photographer who got absolutely torched online because she charged the clients for an album cover and held their images hostage until they paid. You may be surprised to hear this story is still ongoing and has been working its way thru the court system. You may be even more surprised to learn none of what was publicized was actually factual and it seems that it was manufactured to garner attention to the clients. If you haven't heard or don't remember, let me say it's now a very important story to pay attention t0. Regardless of your occupation, the overwhelming damage caused to a well known and highly respected photographer and the potential penalties the clients now face as a result of their defamatory actions are something every business should be aware of.
In January 2015, an online firestorm erupted between wedding clients Neely & Andrew Moldovan and wedding photographer Andrea Polito with Andrea Polito Photography (APP) based in Dallas Texas. To summarize what happened, the Moldovans took a basic misunderstanding of a deliverable item (specifically their wedding album cover which they had been informed, multiple times, had to be purchased afterwards) and instead of talking with the photographer, used social media and local news channels to not only demonize Andrea, but to relish in the ashes of her demise - all over $125. However, they didn't stop there. To sensationalize the story even more, they made numerous false accusations over social media and utilized local news channel (DFW NBC 5) to further spread their story. To name a few of the false statements made: APP sent two photographers the client had never met (and never mentioning they had knowingly contracted for two associate photographers, not Andrea herself), that APP refused to give them their wedding images (which was clearly stated in the contract and numerous times over email the photos would be released upon completion of the album), Andrea never responded to their emails (both Andrea and her studio manager were in constant contact) and many other outright falsities. What happened as a result of the the Moldovan's public disparagement was nothing short of disturbing for any small business owner; not only the overwhelming emotional & financial distress this type of widespread smear campaign can wreak on a small business, but the threat to the existence of the business itself. The end result of their actions was Andrea and APP suffering an insurmountable level of online backlash, threats, lost business and left her with a reputation that was all but impossible to repair. The story, which was actively driven and publicized by the Moldovans, appeared in the UK's Daily Mail, DFW NBC 5 and so many online blogs & websites it's impossible to list them here.
You can find the original report from the NBC DFW news channel here and their follow up to the story here. Andrea Polito responded with an open letter you can read on her website.
Let's look at a few key issues first:
- APP stated several times in emails to the Moldovans and during the initial consultation the album cover would be purchased separately.
- Per the APP contract and several emails to the clients, the Moldovans were told the digital images will be delivered to them once the album process had been completed.
- Neely & Andrew Moldovan reached out to several local news stations to "shop their story" via twitter despite having constant communication with APP.
- DFW NBC 5 news station reporter, Scott Gordon, paraphrased a statement from the Moldovans during their interview and then used it as fact in a future interview (specifically that APP was "holding the images hostage") when interviewing a local wedding planner about the issue.
- The DFW NBC news story withheld an email statement given by APP in response to the story, omitting crucial details (showing APP was adhering to the contract which the Moldovans signed) and only showing the very last sentence from her email "we strive to give the best customer service” which falsely portrayed APP as an antagonist because it supported the angle on their story.
- The DFW NBC reporter Scott Gordon, chose to ignore evidence sent by APP that showed she was acting in full compliance of her contract in his news segments.
- The Moldovans publicly made several false statements: “cheated,” “scammed,” and “blatantly stole money while holding pictures ransom and then adding on extra fees that weren’t in [the] original contract”and APP wanted them to “to pay several hundred dollars more before [she would] provide [the Moldovans’] album or give [them their] pictures on a DVD.” which further damaged the reputation of APP through social media as well as posted a screenshot of the NBC interview with text saying "justice is served".
- Neely Moldovan spoke with her wedding venue, a business where APP had a very strong referral base, and blatantly accused APP of withholding their images and demanding more money to produce the wedding album. All of these statements being only partially accurate and absolutely damaging. The end result was APP was removed from the vendor list of the venue causing a great financial loss to APP.
- On January 14th. 2015, Andrea emailed the Moldovans with an offer to go ahead with the order of the album, once they picked an album cover. She had also previously emailed them with an offer to release to digital images once they approved their album (advancing the delivery date from the contractually agreed to album delivery date). Ironically, the NBC News channel had just finished taping their piece on that day. Regardless, Neely Moldovan responded by asking for clarification if the cover was now free but there was no mention of the TV news station interview because they "preferred the surprise". Andrea later found out that Neely had already posted a photo to Instagram of the news crew with the caption “no big deal, NBC in our apartment".
One very troubling fact of this case that wasn't widely reported is the bride is a "professional blogger" and compensated based on traffic statistics to her website. As you can imagine, when this story went viral, the traffic to her blog exploded. So while it remains to be seen if there was a monetary incentive for the defamation of APP, it's concerning once you hear the facts of how everything happened and how even once their demands were met (in Andrea's email stating she would go ahead with the album order, even though it was outside of the contractually agreed to stipulations), they continued with pursuing the news story. In other words, this all smells like a couple of fame seekers looking to cash in on their 5 minutes of fame.
After facing enormous backlash online and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential business due to the bad press and online reviews, APP filed a disparagement lawsuit against the Moldovans on March 18th, 2015. Specifically, the lawsuit stipulates Defamation, Defamation per se (statements which are defamatory on their face), Business Disparagement, Tortuious Interference with Prospective Contracts and civil conspiracy. That's right, conspiracy. What happened here goes far, FAR beyond what any reasonable person or people would do to solve a disagreement over a $125 album cover. Here are a few screenshots from what Andrea faced online:
Where Andrea Polito is now
The defendants (Moldovans) attorney filed a motion to dismiss the claims in the lower court for the above lawsuit which AP and APP won. The Moldovans then took their case to the Appellate court in an effort to get it overturned. On August 2nd, 2016, Andrea Polito won a huge opinion from the 5th District Appellate Court in Dallas. The appeals court found that, in short, the Moldovans willfully and falsely disparaged Andrea Polito both by their statements and re-publishing of false statements made by others. They also committed tortious contractual interference of potential contracts by defaming her to the venue where their wedding was held and defaming her business. The appeals court issued a very strongly worded judgement against the actions of the Moldovans. Not only did they deny the motion from the Moldovans attorney to dismiss the case, but ruled their actions do not offer safe harbor under the anti-SLAPP laws in Texas (which are some of the strongest in the country). This clears the road for APP to sue for per se defamation case in court (which is a higher level of defamation then per quod and allows for her to seek not only actual damages, but punitive damages as well) in the lower court.
I implore you to read the full appeals court ruling here: http://law.justia.com/cases/texas/fifth-court-of-appeals/2016/05-15-01052-cv.html
At this point Andrea and APP are waiting for a new court date to be set as the Appellate court decision to throw out the motion to dismiss has cleared the way for the lawsuit to proceed. The original cap of $1 million dollars no longer applies and the court can choose to award any monetary amount for punitive damages.
Why you should care
So, what's so important about this and why should you care? Having been through a few similar challenges over the years with both difficult clients and employees myself, the appeals court decision serves as a sound reminder that while free speech is protected, making false or even partially true statements, or re-publishing statements you know to be false can land you in some serious legal hot water with serious financial repercussions. While most photographers (and any business for that matter) will likely have an unhappy client at some point, that does not mean the client can try to "destroy" your business by making false claims or accusations. As her attorney stated, "freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences".
The sheer enormity of the financial and emotional toll this has inflicted on APP is not only difficult to put into words, it shakes me to the core considering it seems this entire scenario was perpetuated by the apparent greed of the Moldovans in a chase for fame and glory. Sadly, no lawsuit or legal team can repair the damage to her business or her personal reputation. So a business that took over a decade to build and gave both employment and paychecks to 10 people, was literally destroyed in a matter of days. While there will always be clients or even potential clients who feel slighted and want to "settle the score" through the ever elusive "viral" story, it's difficult to watch this happen and it should leave you absolutely gutted that over a misunderstanding of $125, the clients and media felt it was okay to absolutely torch a business. The problem with "viral" is that normal, or even "frustrating" events will never go viral. It's only the extraordinary, over the top actions of people or businesses that can ring that special bell to make a story go 'round the world. With our headline driven society, the actual story almost always gets lost in the details because, let's face it, they involve normal and boring facts which hold little interest to the masses. Had DFW NBC's Scott Gordon chosen to tell both sides of the story, this would have never been news. In fact, I believe that it wouldn't have even aired because the actual events that are coming to light in court documents wouldn't have merited a story. It's a mere misunderstanding or, at worst, an unhappy client. However, add "wedding" into it and it stirs emotion, then pour in a dash of "heartbroken newlyweds" and a business who wants to bilk their clients of every dollar, now you are getting somewhere. Finally stir in a couple who wants the media attention and now you have something worth promoting. I remember when I first watched this story, the one from DFW NBC, I was upset at APP because, as it was told, APP was a completely shady company with divisive billing practices. However, as I've done research for this story and learned how APP handled themselves, I became ashamed of myself for believing the hype and realized that APP did what most businesses do, they structured their business in a way that works for them and they followed their contract. So what we have here is a client who didn't like what they signed then tried to use the media to get their way.
While the Moldovans may have gotten their wish for fame, they are now facing the very real threat of being on the wrong end of a lawsuit that has a potential of ending with at least 6 zeros.
A new beginning
As you can imagine, booking weddings after this type of exposure is impossible. However Andrea, as you may imagine, is not one to just roll over. These days she's shooting and working with high profile commercial clients on their branding and image and has left the wedding industry far behind. She's in the final stages of finalizing a book which not only talks about what happened and how she dealt with the social shaming, but how she not only kept her head above water during a very difficult time. If that wasn't enough she also has a few speaking engagements lined up to discuss how social shaming has affected her and how to move forward.
Her goal, through all of this, is to finish the lawsuit which will hopefully set both a precedent and case law which will benefit every small business in how they can handle defamatory actions, social shaming and out of control clients. Having accumulated over 100K in legal fees so far (it's not over yet), the emotional and financial toll of this entire case cannot be overstated and we should all pay attention to not only the deplorable actions of the Moldovans, but the damage it caused to a successful business. My understanding is that Andrea will be updating her photography website with the latest news now that the appellate court ruling is public. I for one will be following these updates because it will likely shape the future of how clients and businesses interact publicly, especially when it comes to misunderstandings or disagreements. [post_title] => When clients go too far - the Andrea Polito story [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => when-clients-go-too-far-the-andrea-polito-story [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-12 20:05:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-13 00:05:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=70702 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65460 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2016-04-14 10:54:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-14 14:54:23 [post_content] =>
Paul & Chareen Wheatley hired a wedding photographer for $850 to capture their special day, and they did not get what they paid for. Not a King's ransom but, at the same time, you'd expect a professional photographer at that price point to deliver images capturing their day that are technically sound and in focus. Unfortunately for the Wheatley's, that wasn't the case. As it turns out (more on this below), the photographer even has a few stolen images in their portfolio.
Wedding photographers have a tough job on even the best of days. Tight timelines, family politics, relying on other vendors to stay on schedule, weather considerations and unruly guests. If you can name it, I've probably seen it at a wedding. Or so I thought. A story that's been making the rounds from Leeds features a photographer who, let's be honest, literally bombed the wedding (you'll get the pun in a moment). Here's a few examples of what was delivered:
The story as it's told in other publications (New York Post & Daily Mail) was that the photographer, Chloe Johnston (C Johnston Photography), was hired by the couple after finding her through a Facebook ad. Up until the wedding day, the couple had difficulty getting in touch with her until Chloe sent a message at 10pm the evening before the wedding confirming she would be there. When she did arrive (45 minutes late), she came with a single camera. For the couples session, she had the bride (in a white dress) and groom (who had just had knee replacement surgery and therefore declined) walk down a muddy path (obviously damaging the dress and excluding the groom. At the reception, the couple didn't see the photographer much as well. After the wedding, the photographer delivered 15 images from the reception. Yes, 15. To top it all off, the couple reports that she hopped into the photo booth and took a few selfies (5 in total). For those that hate math, that's 1/3rd as many photographs as she delivered from the reception.
I've watched the story become sensationalized and it's easy to fire up the pitchforks at this point but let's really look at the problems here.
Not communicating with your clients is simply inexcusable. We all get busy, especially at certain times of the year, but it's not difficult to pick up the phone or simply email the client confirming all the details. Waiting until 10pm the night before is setting yourself up for an epic failure, even if you deliver beautiful photos. Clients hire wedding photographers having no idea what they actually will receive as far as photos go. It's a very unique aspect of the business where it's not a tangible product so any shortcoming or failed communications that happens before the wedding just makes it that much harder to have a happy client.
Arriving late to a wedding is also just inexcusable but at the same time, bad things do happen and I'd be willing to give the photographer a pass on this one if it was something truly out of her control. However, looking at the situation as a whole, it appears the photographer was ill-prepared to take on the primary photographer duties of a wedding.
Walking the clients down a muddy path with no care given to the well being of the clients or their clothing, is absolutely ridiculous. We, as photographers, all have visions but on a wedding day we must take care to weigh the repercussions of our decisions. Soiling a wedding dress, on the day of the wedding, is not something we should ever encourage unless the bride is planning on trashing the dress anyway (which was not the case here) and leaving the groom out of couples portraits is beyond words. It's called "couples portraits" for a reason.
The photographer taking photos of herself in the photo booth. Let's be honest, I really don't see this being an issue at all if we ignored all the other missteps by this photographer. I know I've hopped into the photo booth at several weddings for a quick shot. These were also weddings where the couple and I had a great relationship. Even if they were just normal clients, giving them a photo of their photographer is hardly an issue worthy of the New York Post or Daily Mail had the other issues not happened.
As I did research for this story, I came across an article posted by the great folks over at Photo Stealers. Turns out the portfolio C Johnston Photography has on their website has photos not taken by her. Out of all of the above transgressions, this is the most egregious. When clients hire a wedding photographer the examples of their previous work is all they have to go on. When a photographer steals another photographer's work and not only displays it on their website, but uses it to book clients, it's criminal. The price the newly married couple is paying for this unethical and illegal behavior is far greater then the monetary amount they paid. While it wasn't a huge sum of money, it also wasn't cheap or free and no couple deserves to have their wedding photos ruined because the photographer stole images and represented themselves as something they are not. [post_title] => Wedding Photographer Bombs Wedding, Twice [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wedding-photographer-bombs-wedding-twice [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-14 11:01:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-14 15:01:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=65460 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74021 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2016-03-14 17:15:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-14 21:15:16 [post_content] =>
So the smoke has cleared, I've (kind of) caught up on my sleep and I've returned to "reality" since getting back from the WPPI 2016 Convention in Las Vegas. As I'm sorting out my thoughts from the past week, I'm having trouble finding the perfect phrase to describe my feelings after being immersed in such a creative, supportive and "safe" environment. I suppose blissful exhaustion will do for now but that doesn't quite describe it. WPPI has a very special meaning to me and I've tried for a couple of years to put my experience into words and never been able to do it until now.
I've been going to conventions, both large and small, in some shape or form for 8 years now. That's more than some photographers, less than others, but something really stands out to me - this year more than all others. Every convention I've been to (whether its 100 people or 10,000) offers far more than what can be quantified on the speaking schedule. It's something that is absolutely different for every photographer yet it seems to fulfill each person's unique needs. For me, it's the ability to meet new friends, talk with existing ones and, more important than anything, be inspired by EVERYONE! From the trade show vendors offering new products that allow us to become more creative, viewing the amazing work at the print competition, speakers teaching different ways to do things, the after-class chats with friends, the social events or seeing longtime (or new) friends reach new levels of success. You can't really put this type of experience on a spec sheet.
As I'm speaking from personal experience, I wanted to share some of my highlights this year. I implore you - if you attended, or are wanting to attend - to come up with a similar list for yourself. WPPI offers so much that you simply cannot do it all, so knowing what you want and what you need is very important for your continued growth as a photographer. The Community
WPPI is a HUGE melting pot of photographers from across the globe. We all come for different reasons and, hopefully, we all leave having filled the gap we as creative people seem to have as most of us work solo. The feeling of family, belonging and knowing every year we get to immerse ourselves again makes this time of year so vitally important to me. Seeing the sheer amount of diversity and creativity emanating from our industry is truly humbling and makes me not only proud to be a photographer, but makes me want to push my boundaries further than ever before. I think this is at the core of every convention. It's such an amazing experience if you let yourself take it all in. My own personal needs have changed since my first convention. I went to every educational component I could, went to bed early, and studiously took notes. As my business and I found our place in my local market, the educational need neatly balanced itself with the need for inspiration and community. That's what's truly amazing about most conferences and specifically WPPI - the diversity and planning that allows us all to make our own way and fulfill our own needs. The Print Competition
The past two years I have learned more about photography from sitting in on the print judging than any class (not that the classes are bad, they just focus on one thing where the print judging covers all aspects). It makes me realize that I should constantly be striving for perfection and to never make an "excuse" for why I didn't tweak this, or move that, in any photograph I take. There were literally hundreds of photos that made my jaw drop and one that, quite honestly, gave me pause enough to hang up my camera thinking I could never be that good. Funny thing is though, I realized that I would never be able to make that specific photo as good as the original creator, nor should I try. I should do my own photo in my own style and push for perfection in THAT photo, not try to mimic someone else's. I think that message is the most powerful one from this year. To push my own boundaries and try to create something never seen by anyone else. The Social Aspect
This was the first year I attended "alone" and it was absolutely the best year I've ever had at WPPI. It forced me to put myself out there, shake hands first with someone I never met and get out of my comfort zone of hanging out with the same group of friends every day. I genuinely met some truly amazing people and am so humbled to have spent time with them. Whether it was at a WPPI social event (like the opening night party or awards show), simply by walking around the hotel, grabbing food or stopping by and saying hi to an acquaintance, this experience led to so many other wonderful moments that it's absolutely worth mentioning. The Trade Show
For the uninitiated, the trade show is an overwhelming experience which can quickly lead to sensory overload and confusion on what you should be doing in your business. It's important to keep an open mind and instead of "looking" for a specific solution to a problem in your business, look around at the possibilities. The larger companies will often have world class speakers at their booth giving lectures or demonstrations and these should not be missed. Even though it's a "sales" floor, I've never witnessed any vendor demonstrate anything but a genuine desire to help you and your business either solve a problem or grow. It's a very powerful aspect of the entire experience and an absolute must to dedicate a few hours to see what's new on the market or how you can change your own work to grow personally and professionally. The classes
The scheduled classes are an obvious reason many people go to WPPI. Education is vital - especially with so many amazing photographers pushing the boundaries each year. You can only take so many classes (as so many happen at the same time) but both the platform and master classes feature truly gifted and giving photographers sharing practical experience and knowledge. The WPPI speakers are some of the most passionate ones in the industry and they openly share their knowledge with everyone who attends their classes. Outside of having a mentor early in my career, hearing these talks and understanding there's more than one way to run a business is absolutely key to your continued success. Besides taking classes you "want" to learn, I implore you to take something outside of your comfort zone. You'd be surprised what you can learn when you get your "brain" out of the way and just open yourself up to a new concept. The "unscheduled" classes
I thought about listing this under "classes" or "social" but it doesn't fit neatly under either. Being able to sit down at lunch, or over a drink, with 4, 5 or more photographers and talk about your experiences, challenges or funny stories is simply one of those aspects that can't be missed. This year I had a chance meeting with a very well known photographer and sat down to lunch with him and his marketing person. Then we were joined by other vendors and before you know it, pictures of him with politicians came out and we were having discussions about photographing presidents, lighting up arenas and taking landscape photos. I cannot stress how important this aspect is to me personally and how that has helped me grow as a photographer and person. Trading these tips, stories and knowledge is almost better than a focused class because we all assimilate information into our own business in such way that it changes how we view our work.
Now that I've got my thoughts down on the page, I want to change the phrase in which I described the feelings I have two days after returning. Blissful exhaustion simply isn't accurate. Prodigiously inspired is a far better phrase. I am so absolutely excited for the year to come and cannot wait for 2016. Thanks WPPI - can't wait until next year! [post_title] => Thoughts from the 2016 WPPI Floor [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => thoughts-from-the-2016-wppi-floor [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-19 17:19:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-19 22:19:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=74021 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 63632 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2016-02-19 11:41:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-19 16:41:24 [post_content] => We've all likely heard this sage advice before: get paid for your work! If you're reading this article you are likely a creative (someone who creates something - a photographer, graphic designer, musician, writer, etc) and have had this type of discussion with a potential client. Every day there seems to be more pressure on our industry to create more for less, to create something for "exposure" or get tempted by the proverbial carrot of "I'll tell all my friends." I've come to realize it is the price of admission when it comes to being a creative professional and mostly let those types of requests just roll off my back as I'm fortunate enough to have lots of amazing clients who pay me for my work. But the struggle is real.Early this week, I started hearing rumblings about a company I had never heard of before, Squijoo. If you are like me and have never heard of them, here's the 10 second rundown:Squijoo.com is a Photoshop template company who specifically caters to photographers and advertises their "unlimited Photoshop templates" and "Beautiful, Awesome Designs" for a mere $10 a month. When I first looked through their website, I'll admit I was absolutely intrigued about having access to unlimited, quality templates for a year for roughly the cost of one custom piece from a designer. By doing a little research, I soon found out that they are just one of many online companies who offer this type of business model for Photoshop templates.My interest, however, changed to skeptical curiosity as I started to do more research into Squijoo. Instead of the positive comments I'd expect to see on social media and online review pages, I instead found talk of copyright infringement, rumors of DMCA takedown notices, and a website that was temporarily down and removed/suspended Facebook and Pinterest pages. This, of course, set off alarm bells, so I asked a simple question on Facebook: "Who can tell me what is going on with this and whats the real story here?" After 24 hours of silence, I received information from multiple sources, who all asked to remain anonymous, with some very concerning screenshots and commentary. I want to post these screenshots below so you can have the same experience I had before I go into details.Pay attention to the products being offered by two different companies below. So, how does the above similarities in the designs strike you? Two different companies offering virtually identical designs for a vastly differing price. Would it change your mind to know that, according to my confidential source, Squijoo regularly held competitions on their Facebook page for photographers to "submit" designs they liked so Squijoo could re-create them on their pay-per-month platform? In other words, the similarities in designs are not a mere coincidence, they are absolutely targeted. The next question I asked myself is, "would this be considered a fair use or a derivative work under copyright law?" Well, I didn't know, so I asked my IP attorney - Chris Sorey (@trademarkdude) of Passé Intellectual Property LLC. Chris has represented boy band One Direction as well as David & Victoria Beckham among other large companies so I thought he'd be a perfect person to ask this question. Here is what he had to say:
Under US copyright law, the owner of copyright protected material has the right to make copies of the original work and produce derivative works thereof. The only way to escape liability in reproducing the copyright protected work of another is under some provision of Fair Use. The only Fair Use provision that could potentially apply in this situation would be that so little of the original work is used that the newly created work is thereby transformative. The US Supreme court noted that to be transformative the new work must, “alter the original with new expression, meaning, or message.” In my opinion, looking at and comparing the works of Minted.com, designaglow.com & oh snap boutique to Squijoo.com, it appears that Squijoo.com’s designs are derivative of the designs of Minted.com, designaglow.com & oh snap boutique. Moreover, the designs of Squijoo.com would not be defensible under the Fair Use theory of be transformativeness since they convey the same expression, meaning and message of the designs authored by Minted.com, designaglow.com & oh snap boutique. Notwithstanding the forgoing, I would think that Minted.com, designaglow.com & oh snap boutique would be somewhat hard pressed to enforce some of these designs since they are comprised of what under copyright law could be considered stock elements, i.e. sprigs of holly and wreath shapes symbolizing Christmas. But Minted.com, designaglow.com & oh snap boutique would likely receive copyright protection and thus be able to enforce their compositions of these stock elements. Squijoo.com’s design appear to be derivative of the original compositions of Minted.com, designaglow.com & oh snap boutique. That and the added element of Squijoo.com making public calls for submission of other’s works for them to literally copy or “improve” could give rise to an implication that there is an infringement that is willful, wanton, and purposeful. In other words, this is a legal gray area and short of this going to court, may be best answered via the ethical nature of their business we should be asking ourselves as creative people. What happens when the creatives who designed the original work no longer are employed? I mean obviously, who doesn't love a "deal" but if we extend this scenario out to its logical conclusion, the creatives who made the original work will eventually stop designing as no one is buying their designs. In turn, the companies who are using the original work to create a derivative will run out of quality content to recreate, so the proverbial boat will flip over at that point and we will all feel the effects. Another, also unsavory, outcome is that the quality of the designs from all parties involved will deteriorate as the really skilled artists will stop creating, leaving only those willing to take a pittance to create work that is probably not nearly as good, or at least not consistently as good.Personally, I have a huge issue with this type of business practice. How would I feel if someone carefully re-created a signature photo I had crafted and then competed against me using that photo? I'd of course be upset but there's really two questions to ask yourself - is it patently illegal or simply immoral? It's up to the courts and lawyers, of course, to decide the first question, but I think it's each creative's responsibility to ask themselves the second question. Immoral acts happen everyday in our industry but would you, as a person in the creative industry, support a company whose actions you find immoral by continuing to finance them? It's a tough question and there's no right answer but the question should be asked nonetheless for the long term health of our industry.While writing this piece, I found out a photographer in my local area was a member of Squijoo and had expressed concern about their website closure. I opted to not giver her my opinion but instead tell her what I knew and watch her reaction. When I informed her many of the designs were in question as far as copyright is concerned, her first question to me was "Will I get in trouble for possessing or using these templates?" This was pretty much what I expected but it gave me a moment of pause. If we all react that way and never take the next step which, in my opinion, is to take an active role in rewarding the companies who truly create and not patronize those who duplicate, then are we just as much to blame?This article has lots of questions and very few answers, as I am not the one who should answer for this for you. It's a very important question that is often swept under the rug in the pursuit of being a "paid" creator. Personally, I realize the position I am in, which is one of a creative person, means it would be hypocritical of me to not support other truly creative companies and instead search out the lowest bidder who is essentially duplicating the work of the original creators.I welcome you to continue to conversation in the comments section below. This is far too important of a question with far reaching implications to let go unanswered.UPDATEAs of 5:45pm on February 19th, Squijoo has closed their doors temporarily for restructuring. UPDATE 2Sometime on Saturday, February 20th, their website came back up with far, far less content then it previously contained prior to this article coming out. The sheer scope of the difference in product offerings is shocking.[caption id="attachment_63697" align="alignnone" width="558"] Squijoo products prior to shutdown[/caption][caption id="attachment_63698" align="alignnone" width="558"] Squijoo products on 2-22-2016 (after re-opening).[/caption] [post_title] => Photoshop Template Purveyor Squijoo is Fleecing Creatives By Undercutting Competitor Sites with Stolen Designs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => photoshop-template-purveyor-squijoo-is-fleecing-creatives-by-undercutting-competitor-sites-with-stolen-designs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-22 11:46:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-22 16:46:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=63632 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 37 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 61875 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2015-12-29 12:10:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-29 17:10:57 [post_content] => It's that time of year again! The holidays have come around and, with their festive arrival, a brand new crop of professional photographers was born. While this is a bit of a tongue in cheek comment (and not meant to be offensive), it definitely holds true as photography enthusiasts get their "fix" fed with copious amounts of new gear and other photography related toys in December. I've witnessed this firsthand and personally experienced this phenomenon myself early in my career. I'll quote my own words here: "Now that I have X, I can finally go into business." There is nothing wrong with this and, in fact, I for one love to see the enthusiasm and fresh faces in the photography scene.However, there is one thing that your parents, friends, co-workers or acquaintances won't tell you about being a photographer, and it's the main reason I am writing this piece. Some of the below points may rub you the wrong way but, at the same time, so much of this needs to be said and, hopefully, listened to. It's so important that I'll risk being seen as a bit arrogant if that's what it takes to be straightforward and honest with you. Every photographer and photography group I'm involved with welcome new photographers into the profession but it pains us to see the missteps many new photographers make.Before we begin, a couple of editorial comments:
So with that being said, let's kick off the list!1 - If you plan on running a photography business, you must treat it like a business.I have lost count of how many individuals in my local area don't collect/remit sales tax or even have a business license. In most states both are a requirement and in recent years, your local Department of Revenue has been cracking down on small businesses who are not registered to collect/remit sales tax. It's is a very easy process to register and all you need to do is look up your county and state sales tax laws. You can even collect sales tax without having a "business" license in many cases and use your social security # instead of a FEID. The penalties for not collecting and/or remitting sales tax is enough to put any small business out of business. In other words, if you are collecting money for services you need to know your local tax statutes. See # 5 for why remaining legal is important.2 - Two is one, one is none.While this saying originated with the Navy SEALS, it holds very true for photographers. Especially for those who shoot portraits, weddings or events, having a backup of everything is so important. Weddings and events are, most often, a "documentary" event where the photographer is observing and often doesn't have control of the event. This means in the case of an equipment failure, you can't re-schedule, put something on hold or tell them you "need a minute." Backups are essential even for portrait photographers as many families and extended families will assemble for the session and re-scheduling due to a hardware failure is just not possible in many cases. The ramifications of not capturing what you were paid to because of equipment failure will fall on your shoulders.3 - Backups are important. Very Important. Super important.In 2015 alone, I read no less then 8 stories and had personal experience with two local wedding clients where the photographer lost some if not ALL of a clients wedding photos. As a professional photographer, keeping images safe from the moment you capture them falls under your responsibility and, as courts have ruled, you can be held financially responsible for those losses. You can read more about the most popular lawsuits against photographers or just do a google search on "wedding photographer sued" if you want to dive more into it. Higher end consumer and almost every professional camera body manufactured in the last 3 years has dual memory card slots. Configuring this to write a backup of every image is relatively easy and memory cards are dirt cheap these days, so there really is no excuse. Once you are back at your computer, backing these images up in two places, at a minimum, is standard practice. With hard drives being so affordable these days there is simply no excuse to not have multiple copies of every image from the moment the shutter is tripped. You can read more about backing up your images here.4 - Insurance is a necessityWith any business that works with the general public, insurance is a necessity. Any photographer who works in the field (events, portraits, weddings, architectural, etc) should take the time to research the different types of insurance recommended and cover yourself. Liability (you hit someone with your camera), Property (someone steals your camera) and Errors and Omissions (your camera malfunctions and you have no images) are generally regarded the minimum insurance you should have if you plan on charging for your photographic services. There are other types of insurance available and I highly recommend talking with a company who specializes in covering photographers instead of your local home/car insurance company. To address a very popular misconception, most homeowners insurance policies will NOT cover the theft of photography gear if its being used in a professional capacity.5 - Decide on a business structureNo one says you have to become an S-corp or LLC when starting your business, but it's unwise to not understand the tax and financial liabilities or legal protection of those two business entities or that of a sole proprietor. As soon as you accept money to provide a professional service, a failure to perform complaint can lead to legal action. It's worth noting that if you do NOT form an LLC or S-corp (which is not hard to do), you have little legal protection against lawsuits and its possible for a disgruntled client, subcontractor or employee to attack your personal holdings and assets in a lawsuit. I am not a lawyer so this is merely free advice, but looking at the "worst case" scenarios, paying that annual fee and becoming a business entity is cheap piece of mind when it comes to operating a business. Talk with your local lawyer about the ramifications of each, you'll be glad you did.6 - Contracts are keyThe purpose of a contract is to lay out the services and products you are providing and the manner you will provide them to a client. Without a contract (that has been created/reviewed by an attorney), you are opening yourself up to a huge amount of liability, likely frustrated clients and possible lawsuits. I know this sounds all doom and gloom but almost every professional service out there has a contract which details exactly what to expect and what is provided. All it takes it one misremembered statement or misinterpreted email to turn a happy client into an unhappy one and a whole world of pain. A well written and explicit contract will save you time & money so make the investment up front to get one created by a professional.7 - No one is a great photographer at first, not even you.Experience with any job is valuable of course but as a photographer, experience is essential to developing your style, learning the trade and making your work better. Without fail, every new photographer will get asked "Can you shoot this?" If its something that you don't have experience with, proceed with caution. There is nothing wrong with not having experience in shooting a wedding, for example, but holding yourself out to be a wedding photographer is foolhardy. Weddings, specifically, are difficult events to capture on the best of days. Many churches have restrictions on where you can stand, the use of flash and you have no input on the ceremony, layout, etc. I often joke with my clients that weddings are the only event I photograph where everything is against actually taking a good photo. Limited timeframe, dark halls, lots of alcohol, camera shy people and competing with other photographers (guests with iPhones) all combine to make for a less than ideal atmosphere for even the most veteran shooters. Most seasoned wedding photographers shoot with assistants as well, which may be a great way to get some experience under your belt before you agree to immortalize such an important day in a couples life yourself. If you want to do it anyway, make sure you verbalize you have no experience and can't guarantee anything to the clients (best to do it in writing).8 - Imitate, don't duplicate.No doubt you'll view other photographers' work and be inspired by it. I personally have many favorite photographers whose work I view and learn from their style, posing, etc and use it in my own work. This is absolutely acceptable and even encouraged in the artistic world. However, be aware of the dark side: trying to totally duplicate someone else's work. Chances are they've developed their style over several years with lots of trial and error and if you try and duplicate their work, you'll not only end up with work not as good as their original, but also not be true to your own style. Photography is an expression of the photographer and the absolute best photographers put their own personalities, styles and vision into each photo. Work on your own "look" and take bits and pieces from others to use in your own work. From a purely business standpoint, you'd rather stand out for your own style and attract your own clients then to compete with a photographer who has worked on their signature look for years. There are many photographers who take an even darker path and use images shot by other photographers on their website as an example of their work. To be blunt, this is known as stealing and is illegal. Unfortunately this problem is so pervasive there is a website (Photo Stealers) that is dedicated to outing photo thieves. There are also image search tools (Tineye & Google) photographers use to find out where images of theirs are being used and yes, we do use them. To go ahead and get the excuses out of the way:Yes, it is illegal. It doesn't matter if your webmaster did it. No, you can't shoot it as good as they did.Using someone else's photos may result in getting your website shut down (DMCA), getting sued and being outed as a photo thief. Just don't do it.9 - Camera settings do not matterOn many online critique forums, I see this question over and over - "what were your camera settings?" While the photographer is often nice and answers that specific question, I can guarantee you that if you shot the same photo, with the same gear and the same settings, you would get a different result. The "real" answer to that question is: "I shot this using the settings that gave me the look I wanted." There are so many variables that go into a single photo that just knowing the camera settings will not help you, and if you want to produce a similar look you can, just remember #8 above. On this point, the much better road to take is to learn your gear and how you can take a similar photo while putting your own knowledge to use. The best analogy is catching a fish for a person versus teaching them how to fish. Learn to fish and you'll never need to ask what the camera settings were. There are always valid technical questions (what lens, what type of light, how did you deal with the harsh light, etc) that will give you much more insight into how the photo was taken. There are no shortage of amazing photographers who teach multi-day, immersive classes that will indeed make you a better photographer and "how to fish." Make sure and do your research, look at their body of work, their credentials, how long they have been in business and who's style is something you admire.10 - Get edumacated!Many established photographers are always looking for supplementary help. In exchange for that help, many of them are willing to pass along knowledge from their experience which, in turn, will help you grow as both a business and a photographer. My own mentor was paramount in helping me overcome technical problems and even warned me away from becoming a full time professional photographer. Every thing he shared with me cut days, weeks and even months off of my learning curve in both my photography skill level and ability to run a successful business. You should know that well regarded photographers are likely getting asked multiple times a year, or even a month to mentor others and their time is extremely valuable so if you want a mentor, be prepared to sell yourself. It's a buyers market when it comes to a photographer getting an apprentice and you'll have plenty of competition from other photographers for that spot. Once you get a mentor establish in very clear terms what you'd like to learn and what they need from you. It's a business relationship and it only works if both sides are getting what they need from the other. There are numerous photography conventions, gatherings, seminars, organizations and other educational opportunities and I highly recommend you expose yourself to as many of these educators as possible, especially when you are just starting out.11 - Charge appropriately - your time is extremely valuable.I hear it time after time, "I'm not worth $$$ or $$$$" so i'll just charge $$." Photography is one of the few fields where businesses seem to decide what they are worth instead of letting your customers determine it or, even better, using a business plan. While knowing your worth is certainly hard to determine, especially in an artistic field, as a business you have certain costs you must cover. Equipment repair, gear purchases, insurance, marketing, software licenses, seminars, your salary and profit are all things you should take into account when pricing yourself. There are tons of examples of business plans available online. Those plans can greatly help you in making sure your business doesn't meet an early demise and hopefully show a profit! It also allows you to better manage your time, maximize your enjoyment and have a clear path on business decisions in the future.Would love to hear other tips you have in the comments, and good luck to all you new photographers! Sites like Resource are here to help you. As harsh as my comments are above, they come from a place of caring. We want you to succeed, and with the right direction, you can. [post_title] => 11 Things Every New Photographer Should Know [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 11-things-every-new-photographer-should-know [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://weddingindustrylaw.com/common-lawsuits-against-wedding-photographers/ [post_modified] => 2015-12-29 14:01:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-29 19:01:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=61875 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 60284 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2015-11-10 15:33:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-10 20:33:58 [post_content] => Every once in a while, I see something come across my Facebook news feed that, literally (and I am using this word properly here), makes me say "WTF??" I recently had one of these moments when I saw an article on Fstoppers titled "Why I think creatives should consider working for free more often." Granted, this is an op-ed piece and, like they say, opinions are like assholes, but this one really struck a chord with me because of how misguided and plain wrong it is.If you don't want to read it, the basic premise is the writer was shocked at how many of his industry peers wouldn't take on free work (His example was a free magazine photo shoot for a musician that just signed a record deal). I'll address that specific instance a little later in this article but first I want to talk about just how wrong "working for free" is.A little about me first: I am a professional photographer that makes my living solely from taking pictures. I've been shooting wedding, portrait and commercial work for over 10 years now and started my career as a magazine photographer where, yes, I worked for "free" to begin with (because I knew ZERO about photography and the Chief of Photography traded my work for him training me and gaining experience). During that time (and my first 6 years total) I had dual incomes from my "day job" and did photography on the side. My work has been published in regional and national magazines and I've shot for numerous publications and corporations - Better Homes & Gardens and Amazon being two of the more recognizable ones. In my 10 years doing this, I've learned one very, very important thing. You always have to be compensated - end of story. Compensation doesn't have to be money though, there are numerous ways we can receive compensation and each creative will have to make up their own minds on what they need. I should go ahead and say this now: I've gotten zero paid jobs from being "published."COMPENSATIONThere are 3 primary ways we can be compensated, and you must have two out of three of these to have a good outcome:Money Experience Self-Fulfillment/Joy/PassionI will say it again, you need to have at least two of these if you expect a good outcome. Ask people who make a lot of money, but hate their jobs, if they are content (they aren't). I can almost guarantee you its because they are missing the 2nd item. Each one of the above things is a form of compensation in its own right. Choosing the two that you want in your life is, of course, up to you but you must take these things into consideration if you want to actually have a career in a creative (or any other) field. As a creative, our mood and personal outlook on life is of paramount importance if you expect to create fresh content on a regular basis.In the Fstoppers article, the author claims that doing a free shoot gives you total and complete artistic freedom. There is nothing further then the truth. If you were "asked' to shoot for free, I can almost guarantee you there will NOT be given artistic freedom. Someone reached out to you because they like your style. If this is your personal photography project, then you will want to control all the aspects, right? So why would someone else give you complete control on their project? It just will not happen. Non-paying collaborative efforts can be fun but, in the example given, I can guarantee you the record label and magazine have a very, very specific look & feel they are going for to promote this musician and his "brand." Collaboration (for experience and joy) only works when all parties involved get equal say in their fields and when all of the ideas mesh. Otherwise, compensation of another sort must come into play.Notice that "exposure" is not on the list. Exposure is very, very rarely worth it. No one besides photographers ever, EVER read the bylines under photos (I have over 150 published articles & photos shoots and only one person, a photographer, said "OMG, you're that guy!" Even then, he wasn't a paying client so, in the end, exposure is not worth anything- except the occasional ego boost). You must identify what you want as your compensation which negates the whole "free" concept. Feeding ones ego is EXPENSIVE! It's all consuming, is never full and you never, ever get anything back from it.WORKING FOR EXPOSUREOne of my mentors said this to me a long time ago when I brought up the concept of working for exposure. "People die from exposure." I laughed it off but the longer I've been in this industry, the more I realize it is true. Exposure is an empty promise that rarely, if ever, pans out. If I walked up to you on a street and asked to take a free portrait of you, how much "worth" would that have to you? Probably none. Or how about if you walk into a hardware store to buy a "widget," they have widget's for $5 and other widgets for free. Which do you think is better? If you have a critical need for that widget, would you risk picking up the free one or would you pay for it? People do not respect things they get for free - and if you don't have that respect as a creative, how much input do you think you will really have in the process?WORKING FOR THINGS OTHER THEN MONEY[caption id="attachment_60293" align="alignright" width="532"] This is from my last personal project - I HIRED (paid) the model so I had complete control over everything including the location, makeup, clothing, lighting, etc.[/caption]Now if you have a potential project that involves no monetary compensation, that may not necesarily be a bad thing if you are getting the other things you need. Shooting a signed musician for a magazine is a paid gig, period. But if it's a collaborative project with other creatives, then you need to look at the above list and ask yourself, "will the experience and fulfillment I get be worth the effort I put into it?" If yes, then it's a viable thing and, hopefully, you get what you need out of it. Only you can answer that question but, at the risk of sounding trite, I implore you to make sure you are getting compensated in other ways. If you aren't going to get money, experience or joy, then there's one thing you can (and should) say: NO.On a personal note, I see so many articles discussing this topic these days. And what makes me laugh is most places talk out of both sides of their collective asses - one piece stating "Working for free is great" then another piece which says "You should never work for free." A great example is here (these were written one month apart):Fstoppers article - why we should work for free more often. Fstoppers article - no more work for free.Now these are two different people writing with two different opinions for Fstoppers, but I can assure you that in the world at large, everyone gets paid for their work. Even many "charities" or "non-profits" pay their people but ask many others to donate their time and effort because it's "for charity." I am all for donating my time for a worthy cause, but I ask the person who is hiring me "Do you get paid?" With one exception, everyone from charities who has asked me for free work was getting monetarily compensated. Why are we, as people who create, so quick to give that away?Seriously, have you ever asked another professional to work for free? Didn't work so well, did it? No. No it did not. [post_title] => Why Working for Free is a TERRIBLE Idea [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => counterpoint-why-working-for-free-is-a-terrible-idea [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-10 15:43:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-10 20:43:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=60284 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 59859 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2015-11-03 17:49:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-03 22:49:31 [post_content] => John Michael Cooper, or JMC as many of us know him, is arguably one of the most prolific, boundary testing and progressive wedding & portrait photographers of the digital era. While many of us will recognize his "Trash the Dress" work, for which JMC is widely credited for starting the trend, he never really set out with that as a goal. JMC is like many wedding photographers, he loved his job but quickly grew bored with the convention and unspoken standards. While adhering to those ideals is a must for any full time wedding & portrait photographer, JMC opted to take the "5%" of the time where he can shoot solely for himself and turn it into something truly creative - Iconic photos with a dark and dramatic twist which he coins the "Anti-Bridal".After JMC posted his first trash the dress photo publicly, he realized that by publishing something truly creative with no concern for the "standard" not only did his work stand apart from his competition, but he attracted clients with a similar style & taste to his, which furthered his ability to create more stylized work. Many people have commented on how the work of Alt-F is not their style, but there is an inherent brilliance in that. The idea you can not only allow yourself to be creative, but attract clients who appreciate your talent is a core element of being a successful artist. While JMC does indeed shoot conventional wedding photos, he prefers to show the majority of "his" work to continue to attract his type of client which further drives his business.Today JMC and his wife, Dalisa, run AltF photography out of Las Vegas, NV and continue delivering not only powerful & vivd images, but also speak regularly around the county while running a successful full-time photography business.You can read more about AltF on DPReview, on their website or see him in person on stage at the WPPI expo in 2016.\ [post_title] => Defining the Unconventional - Alt F Photography [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => defining-the-unconventional-alt-f-photography [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-04 11:49:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-04 16:49:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=59859 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 58177 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2015-09-14 12:29:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-14 16:29:54 [post_content] => As photographers, we are entrusted with not only capturing important moments in peoples lives, events, products, etc., but we are also expected to keep this imagery safe and secure. You may have heard in recent weeks about photographers who have had gear & image cards stolen and lost once-in-a-lifetime moments because of their unfortunate failure to back up their images. This is often an overlooked, but critical part of a photographers responsibility. Failure to do so can lead to not only some very uncomfortable conversations with clients, but in some cases (like weddings) tears, lawsuits or worse. Let's cut to the chase here: we get paid to take pictures then deliver those pictures to the client. To do that, we have to take accountability for not only taking those photos but keeping them safe until we deliver and perhaps even beyond.Before I start, my background, prior to being a full time photographer I was in IT as a Senior Engineer. I happen to speak geek, so to speak, and I recently upgraded and updated my backup ideology and hardware. After a few photographers heard about my setup and asked LOTS of questions (and for my help in setting their own up), I realized how valuable a "primer" on backups would be. With that being said, this is simply one way to backup your data and keep it safe (there are hundreds of ways to do this). I highly recommend you talk with a professional with experience on backup systems, at least to start, to make sure you get off to a good start. Once everything is running smoothly, it will make more sense.First, a little gear porn - this is MY setup:To start, we need to explain some of the terminology first:
- The photography profession is tough. Lots of competition, almost no barrier to entry, zero regulation and lots of voices (with varying levels of experience) shouting "I can show you the way."
- There is a very large difference between getting a great shot of your Uncle Eddie that one time and producing quality work, every time, in every scenario, under pressure.
- You can rarely count on your friends, family, co-workers or acquaintances to be honest about your work. Facebook comments do not equal the real world when it comes to photographic skill.
- The vast majority of photographers are part time with wildly varying pricing, products and skill levels.
- You will have a difficult client who will make you rethink your decision to be a photographer.
- "Competition" in the photography world is mostly good natured "pushing of the boundaries," so getting a group of peers together for critiques and comments is a very powerful learning tool.
So, let's talk about coming up with your backup "ideology"...Your "strategy" to take reasonable measures for protecting your data is highly important. Coming up with a strategy that works for you and your schedule/workflow is just as important as the plan itself because, if its too complicated, you simply won't do it (and you just wasted money for nothing). Every backup plan should consider four key areas: duplication, data corruption, theft/disaster protection and ease of recovery.At it's most basic, copying your images into multiple location protects you against hardware failures, data corruption or theft (like a hard drive failing or laptop getting stolen). Simple right? Well, as long as you don't store everything in the same place where it could ALL be stolen at once, damaged in a fire or lost to some other unforeseen disaster, it is. Don't get caught up in all the small details just yet. Remember, being able to access backup copies of your data is what will save you in the event of a problem (and save you LOTS of grey hair and sleepless nights).Lets step through a ideal photographers backup workflow...After a shoot, you load your camera card into a card reader and dump the images onto a single hard drive. This can be an internal hard drive or an external drive in a docking bay (which is what I use) - called your working drive. Now your images are in two places (the camera card and the hard drive). That hard drive should then backup (not duplicate) to another hard drive or NAS (we'll call this your backup drive) either immediately or on a schedule (twice a day, once an hour, etc). This way if something happens to your primary (working) drive, the images are safe & sound on the backup drive (and now you have three copies). Then you can chose to have either your working drive backup to your cloud account or your backup drive backup to the cloud (which gives you 4 copies). I prefer to use my backup drive so my working drive isn't trying to do other things while I am accessing it for editing (see below about NAS systems for how I do this). Once you have the data on three hard drives in two places, you can safely clean/format your camera memory cards.I recommend using a backup software to start the process (from your working drive to your backup drive). There are numerous brands of backup software so look for one that best suits your skill level and computer platform. You are wanting to backup folders and/or drives on a schedule so keep that in mind (almost all allow for folder and file level backups and scheduling). When choosing this software, make sure it creates an EXACT copy without any fancy compression, algorithms, etc. You want to be able to SEE all of the data on both drives (trust me on this, it will save you lots of stress). With this setup, even if you accidentally delete an image from the working drive (or it corrupts), it still resides safely on the backup drive and the cloud. The downside of this is you will have to "clean" off your backup drive & cloud periodically because it will literally fill up with data over time (because when you remove stuff from your working drive, it stays on the other locations - as it should).Did you catch the part about your backup drive filling up? This is where we start to get into some higher cost and complexity when designing backup systems. To be honest, if you're shooting 10 weddings a year, simply having single hard drive for both your working drive and backup drives is probably fine because you don't need tons of space. However, if you're a full time photographer, that may just not practical and you'll need more space then a single drive allows.Let's talk about NAS systems...A NAS (Network Accessible Storage) is a device that combines multiple hard drives into a single "array" that lets you greatly exceed the storage space you can achieve with a single drive. It resides locally on your network so the data transfer speed is high (via your ethernet) and are available at relatively low costs. There are many solutions out there but, again, when choosing one I highly recommend you keep it simple and forego any of the fancy backup "schemes" that you will find in your research. In other words, no compression, no "versioning", etc. If (and when) those break, it can corrupt your data leaving you with no backup at all (which you'll likely never know about until you actually need it). With a NAS you can easily get 8TB (Terabytes) or more of storage (that's a LOT of photos) at a relatively low cost and easy setup. You will still have to clean it off regularly but with that much space, you won't have to do it every week which saves you time in the long run.NAS devices generally use a storage scheme called RAID which gives your hard drives fault tolerance. This involves storing one file across many hard drives. There are numerous types of RAID but let's talk about ones that involve more than two drives for this example. If you have four hard drives running in a RAID environment and one hard drive fails, you can install a new drive and rebuild the data safely. Most RAID implementations can only handle when one drive fails at a time. If two drives happen to fail at the same time, then you have a problem (but chances are very slim that will ever happen). Some NAS boxes have their own proprietary versions of RAID that will offer additional benefits (like additional hard drive failure tolerance, hot-swappable hard drives, etc). There are also RAID versions (such as RAID 0 which spreads data across multiple drives to dramatically increase speed at the cost of backups and works great for working drives) but, as you read above, this does not protect against file deletion or corruption so I generally recommend against that when coming up with a backup system.If you look at the fancier NAS boxes (Synology has a great lineup of NAS devices available at different price points), they often will have built-in software that will allow you to backup directly to numerous cloud storage services from the NAS. This makes it very easy to have an offsite copy of your backed up data and once you set it up, it becomes very easy to manage. One side note, if your NAS does not come with hard drives when you order it, make sure the ones you get are designed to be in a NAS environment such as Western Digital Red drives or something comparable.When configuring your cloud backup solution, I again recommend you opt to backup (not duplicate) your data so if you have data loss or corruption locally, your cloud copy is still safe and secure. Again, the downside is you have to clean out "old" data from your backup (local) drive AND your cloud drive. It takes longer but is the safest method to retain your data in an emergency (which is why we are doing this in the first place, right?).A trick I use when I'm cleaning off my drive is to confirm everything I have just archived is safe with no errors (just a cursory check), then I will change all of the "backup" jobs I have on my backup software (from working drive to backup drive and working drive/backup to cloud storage) to "duplicate" and run the job. When you change the job type from "backup" to "duplicate", this will "refresh" your backups (NAS and Cloud) with only what is on the working/backup drive and purge the data you have archived off the working drive.To put this all together in a short paragraph (TL;DR), we now have a primary drive, a backup drive and a cloud storage system. Each drive is backing up to the next which guards you against data corruption, your images are now in multiple locations (on and off site) which protects against theft/disaster and gives you ample data duplication in case you deleted a file or saved all of your master files as web-size (yes, I've done that). Since everything is stored without compression or other weird stuff, you can easily view and recover data at any time (from a single file to whole folders). This is a pretty solid setup that is easy to mange.There are tons of variables you can introduce into this backup ideology and this is meant to be a beginners primer to keeping your data safe so once you get the hang of it, tweak it to your hearts content for your needs.Here's a image of our basic backup system:And there you have it! A fairly simple and straightforward system which gives you lots of data redundancy, automated backups and a minimum of management to make sure everything is working properly. As you "fine tune" your system, you can start to take into account what really needs full redundancy (finished client files) and just partial redundancy (like old RAW files where you have already delivered your client JPGs).Hardware Resources: Drive Toasters Synology NAS NAS Hard Drives Amazon Glacier Cloud Storage [post_title] => HOW TO: Our Recommended Way to Back Up Your Photos [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-our-recommended-way-to-back-up-your-photos [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-14 12:29:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-14 16:29:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=58177 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 57945 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2015-09-07 15:58:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-07 19:58:57 [post_content] => You may have already heard about, and if you’re a wedding photographer I’d be very surprised if you haven’t, the wedding in Maryland where a DJ brought his camera and photographed almost the entire day of events. By the "entire day," I mean the ceremony, formals (through the bushes no less), cocktail hour and the reception and then the next day posted his images on Facebook under a 3rd party company name that offers photography services for weddings.If you haven’t, please let me know where you live - I want to move there!There are so many facets to this story that it’s been very hard to keep up, so I’ll just list out the facts:
- Backup - Making a copy from one device to another (If you delete the master, or it corrupts, the backup copy is safe).
- Duplicate - Making an exact copy of data (If you delete the master, the backup copy will also be deleted).
- NAS - Network Accessible Storage (a data storage drive that resides on your local network - Synology, Drobo, etc).
- Cloud Storage - A large "farm" of machines with massive amounts of storage that is highly fault tolerant. The faster the access, the more expensive it typically is. Drive
- RAID - Stands for "Redundant Array of Independent Disks"(There are industry standards as well as proprietary implementations of this).
- Archiving - The act of moving old data off of your "active" system onto an old hard drive, CD, etc. These are typically old shoots that have long since been delivered.
Simple enough, right? Well let’s complicate it a bit more. The owner of Absolute Entertainment also owns the Umbrella Syndicate which is a marketing service that who also advertises photography services (but was not hired for any aspect of the above event).
- Ken Rochon with Absolute Entertainment (a DJ company) was hired to be the DJ.
- Carly Fuller Photography was hired to be the wedding photographer
- (Names are being used as both the DJ and Photographer have publicized this story under their names on social media)
Ok, so let’s break this down. A wedding photographers job, first and foremost, is to make our clients happy. On the best of days, this is a challenge as we have to overcome unique obstacles that are most times out of our control. Timing, weather, people running late, drama, you name it, the photographer has to adapt and overcome. The client’s happiness is job # 1 because if they are unhappy, it’s not like we can go back and re-do the event. Because of this, experienced photographers use the entire process, from booking to interactions with guests to the unveiling of the professional photographs to promote their business, their talent and gain future business. How many times have you seen a bride on Facebook say “I can’t wait until I see my professional photos”? In the above instance, this bride was robbed of that experience by a vendor who had no business doing so and for the sole purpose of greedy self-promotion. A talented professional photographer the couple had chosen and paid was there, so the posting of images by the DJ not only lessened the experience of the client, it’s caused a backlash in the photography community (and beyond).So how big of a deal is this? Well, to date, there have been articles in Forbes, Petapixel and numerous blogs by well known photographers, and hundreds of Facebook threads with commentary in multiple communities across the country. Photographers are expressing their shock and disbelief at this practice in the hundreds, maybe even thousands. There are even hashtags trending from this debacle: #weddingphotogate, #teamcarly. Wedding photographers are up in arms about this because not only were multiples lines crossed and jumped over unapologetically by a fellow professional wedding vendor.No photographer (I’ve been in business for 10 years) or anyone I’ve spoken with during the course of writing this article has an issue with any vendor taking photos of their specific duties or elements. Florists, bakers, DJ’s, venues, lighting specialists, rental houses, etc. have always been welcome (and still are) to photograph their services or products. In a perfect world, how convenient would it be to have a professional photographer who is already there who may be able to do this for you? Photographers are almost always happy to provide a few photos to a vendor in exchange for a little good press. Even still, any vendor is generally welcome to take a few photos for themselves of their role in the wedding but would it be weird for the florist to hang around all night and photograph random guests dancing? Probably so…Weddings are highly organized events. There are contracts, checklists, timelines and job roles that must be clearly adhered to for an event to be successful. They are so complicated that many couples hire coordinators just to help run the day. In addition to the massive amount of planning and details, the amount of nuances each vendor brings to the table cannot be overstated (not just their job, but how they do it). For DJ’s, it’s knowing how to get a crowd dancing or getting the crowd pumped up, for caterers, it’s how to prepare and present food for large groups. For a photographer, it’s knowing how to capture an event in the style of which you were hired for. Hiring a wedding photographer is an intensely personal choice. While the couple may not care about what brand of steak is used, or where the chairs came from, photography is not a wholesale commodity to most couples.The personality of the photographer, their style, interactions and methods are just as important as the photography itself. In other words, wedding photographers are not commodities. There are so many unspoken aspects to wedding photography that I can’t go into them all but I will give one example. If you’re a wedding guest and had been asked to take 5 photos with your +1 over the course of the evening, how excited would you be to have a 6th photo taken? Probably would be a bit annoyed, right? In other words, there are intangibles involved that have to be acknowledged and the organic experience of every wedding guest is a big part of managing a room and event for a photographer.Imagine, for a moment, the chaos that would ensue if that a wedding, there were 2 caterers trying to feed each person, a band AND a DJ playing at the same time, or, in this example, 2 photography companies. Who is responsible for what shot? How will the images be delivered? Who took a photo of the couples great aunt that got our of her hospital bed to attend. CHAOS.This brings me back to the above scenario, where a DJ, contracted solely for DJ services, decided to overstep his contractual obligations and play photographer for the day. Not just taking photos of the parts they are responsible for (playing music, announcing guests, people dancing), but photographing almost the entire day (ceremony, formals, cocktail hour posed photos, etc). Doing so with zero coordination with the contracted photographer, shooting what they wanted, formally posing guests and providing general “event” photography coverage despite being formally asked to cease by the contracted photographer. Let’s fast forward to the next day, when the images were posted to a company’s Facebook page that was not hired for the event (the Umbrella Syndicate). A company that provides photography services amongst others. How would a casual guest or even a family member know the company that posted the photo wasn’t the hired photographer or even what company each photographer worked for?Can you start to see where the confusion comes in?The opportunity to devalue one person's business/brand or poach potential business is ripe. In the wedding business, reputation is everything. EVERYTHING. Do a great job, business will keep rolling in. Do a bad job and your business will suffer as word gets around. This is the couple's one special day, and instead of doing your contracted job to the absolute best of your ability, we are now seeing a disturbing trend like the above scenario - that it’s a cross promotional opportunity to gain business from an event service that you're not contracted to provide.So, let’s virtually “attend” this wedding in Maryland as a guest. As a casual observer at a wedding, you’d assume all the photographers are all working together, right? So what happens when you see images posted? You’ll assume that whoever posted the images is who was hired for the wedding. That’s a pretty safe assumption as this event is not a press worthy (most of the times) event. When you have another photographer posting images as though they “won” the job, in creates confusion. We call this “poaching” (when you take credit for an event that you were not hired for).A guest's good or bad experience with whomever they interacted with will then be levied onto the company that they “know” was hired. Why is this important? Well beside the obvious (good or bad publicity), it’s a way for a company to siphon off reputation, prestige and referrals from the hired company. Whoever posts first on social media is going to get all the recognition from people who are not aware of who the hired photographer was. Moreover, if the photographer gave a bad impression to a guest at the wedding, and DIDN’T post images, then that would hurt the hired companies reputation. This is one of the many reasons why many vendors have exclusivity clauses. It’s not to prevent the couple from getting photos from guests or limit competition, in fact its quite the opposite (in Texas 2 photographers were awarded $750,000 on a counter suit after being sued by another photographer for invoking their exclusivity clause at an event). It’s a contractual statement saying that for the photographer to do their job to the best of their ability, they have to be in control of that specific aspect (photography, music, etc). DJ’s, photographers, caterers all have this contractual statement (and if they don’t they probably will now). Two or more companies doing the same job (in competition with each other) does NOT equal twice as much good stuff, it results in chaos.In this particular instance, when the DJ posted the photographs he took on Facebook, he stated he was hired to DJ the wedding, but how many people read between those lines? It didn’t say he wasn’t hired to photograph the event. Moreover the Umbrella Syndicate’s facebook page, where the images got posted on, had zero involvement in the event, so there are legal questions regarding liability, being at a private event without being invited, dilution of the hired photographers brand, misleading potential clients and, finally, not having a model release from anyone to post photos in a commercial capacity. While it’s absolutely legal to photograph everything you can see while standing on public property (in most cases), this was a private event, on private property at a venue that requires a million dollar liability policy to photograph professionally while on its grounds.Weddings are a big business, no doubt. In the US it’s a $55 billion industry and it’s almost entirely based on personal service, connections and reputation. Every wedding vendor I have ever worked with (over 200) in my career takes their relationship with the client very, very seriously. Vendors must work together as a team to provide the best service to their clients on the wedding day. Make no mistake, we are all there for our clients because, without them, we have nothing. We all work very hard to make their day as special and important as possible. When we treat the wedding day as primarily an opportunity to promote our own business, we no longer are putting our clients first and instead act on our own behalf, as in the case above.As the troubling trend of blurring job roles continues (especially where it comes to photography), I have almost no doubt we will see more court cases involving tortious interference, brand dilution, potential business loss and contractual interference. This is a sad statement as the ultimate losers will be the clients because we’re bringing our business squabbles and aggressive tactics into a day that is supposed to be all about them, not about how this event can best benefit our companies. With the wedding day being about celebration and emotions, even broaching this topic can be dangerous for any company because of the bad press it can bring.All of this begs the question - “So what can I do if this happens to me”? Assuming you aren’t ok with it, the first step is always asking the other person, in a professional and polite manner, to cease taking pictures in a professional capacity. Again, documenting their role is one thing but photographing the entire event when their role is limited is definitely crossing a boundary. If that fails to work, then you have to make the decision on what is the next best step. As wedding photographers, we are being entrusted to document not only two families coming together, but the creation of a new family.These are moments we can not replicate or re-do and we, as the professionals, need to educate our clients on exactly why we need this level of control. [post_title] => What is #Weddingphotogate & Why Should Photographers Care? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => what-is-weddingphotogate-why-should-photographers-care [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-07 15:58:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-07 19:58:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=57945 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 28 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 51219 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2015-04-20 10:00:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-20 14:00:50 [post_content] => Brian Mullins, a successful Raleigh Wedding Photographer, understands how important ambiance is to clients. In his words, "Unless you shoot weddings exclusively in forests or gasoline factories, you’ve probably had the joy of photographing a 'sparkler exit' or two in your career." They are pretty, make for great photos and, at least in his experience in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area, are very, very popular if the reception venues allow them. You probably already know that, yes, they are hot, but Brian recently learned exactly how hot and extremely dangerous they are while helping arrange guests for an exit during one of his shoots.A word of warning, this story contains some VERY graphic descriptions and photos of what can happen when sparkler exits don't go as planned. What follows is Brian's story, by Mr. Mullins himself.
- The DJ, Ken Rochon, took photos of the wedding throughout the day (the ceremony, the formals and the reception). These photos (over 230) were then posted on the Umbrella Syndicate Facebook page, with the umbrella syndicate logo.
- He then tagged the clients as well as the official photographer in the photos posted on the Umbrella Syndicate Facebook page.
- Shortly after posting the photos, the official photographer sent a private request to have them removed - which was denied.
- The happy couple's family got involved and requested them to be removed, which was honored.
- - - It was April of 2014, and wedding season was in full swing for us in Raleigh. With it being at the early part of our wedding season, I noticed I was a bit more fatigued then usual later in the evening, but it had also been a long day (about 11 hours) so I was glad when the last song was over and I walked down the stairs to help setup for the sparkler exit.The venue staff was handing out sparklers to the guests and asking them to line up outside. Our usual process has always been to grab a handful of sparklers and pass them to guests that forgot to grab one, as well as a couple for myself so I could help light others sparklers further down the line. We want to make sure we get as many sparklers going as possible for the best photos and it just helps the entire process go faster. The sparklers were the shorter “fourth of July” types and not the longer wedding sparklers that are the “recommended” type for this use. I also found out they burned “blue” instead of the traditional yellow. I was thinking to myself this would look really cool and should match the color temperature of my flash better then the yellow. As it turns out that means the chemical composition is different and as I soon discovered, more “volatile” then traditional sparklers.I lined everyone up into two lines outside when I got the signal the couple was ready to come out. People started lighting their sparklers and, to be honest, I don’t really remember what happened next. I know I had a bunch (9-10) of sparklers in my hands prior to that moment and one of two things happened, either I lit them or a guest lit them ( I was told two different things by two different people) but the end result was the same. An instantaneous searing, burning and overwhelming pain in my right hand, a large fireball that scorched my face & hair and a ton of confusion… it turns out the sparklers exploded in my hand. I remember throwing the sparklers as fast as possible but my hand didn’t quite work so they just kind of dropped. I took a look at my hand (this was outside, at night) and could see it was scorched black, misshapen and my skin felt very odd. Someone came over and started yelling at me to look at my hand while grabbing at it which added to the confusion (at the time). I don’t really remember the exact sequence of details because I was in intense pain and the couple had just appeared at the doorway, so my only thought process was only to “get the shot,” so I shrugged him away while uttering some form of grunt or other noise (that was most likely unpleasant). As the bride & groom started walking I lifted my camera and got ready to fire the first shot.Shit.I tried pressing the shutter with my index finger and, for lack of a better way to say it, it didn’t work. I couldn't bend my finger enough to actually depress the shutter. Thinking as fast as I could, I switched to my middle finger. No bueno. Ring finger? Hell no. C’mon pinky, you can do it! YES!! My pinky still worked so I shot around 30 frames, hammering away with no thought of composition, artistry, flash recycle time or anything other then trying to keep them somewhat in the frame.The couple made it to the car and I couldn’t take it anymore (I missed the car shot). I RAN to the bathroom to put water on my hand. Looking at it inside in the light, it was worse then I thought. My hand was almost completely black, the skin was thickened and very hard and three of my fingers and thumb would barely move. I washed off as much soot as I could with the water then went back upstairs to get some ice, find my partner (Jenn), pack up and go to the hospital. I didn't realize it at the time but I was in the early stages of shock at this point so I resembled the behavior of the walking dead. I told Jenn what happened, and she immediately got the DJ to help her pack up and we got to the car as fast as possible. We talked about which hospital to go to and agreed on the closest one to our studio.So, one thing about emergency rooms. People tend to treat them as their primary care physicians so, when I arrived, people were waiting for non-emergent issues (fevers, flu, etc). I got triaged, told it was only first degree and they offered me some ibuprofen for the pain… (yeah, great service there). After about 45 minutes of waiting, without any movement in the line of people in front of us, Jenn convinced me to go to another hospital. As we were walking out, I went into full fledged shock. Started slurring my words, shivering uncontrollably and had difficulty walking. We arrived at the next hospital, told them what happened and they immediately got me into a wheelchair, gave me a warm blanket (oh my god that was the 2nd best feeling ever) and brought me back into a triage room. The resident came in shortly after, asked what happened, took one look at my hand and promptly left to get the attending physician. When she came in, she immediately started telling me I had received 2nd & 3rd degree burns to my hand, which burned the tendons and was the reason I couldn't move my fingers (along with the thickening of the skin). They were not equipped to treat burns this serious and they had called an ambulance to take me to the UNC burn center. (ironically about 5 miles from where the wedding reception was). She told me that once I arrived there, they would most likely cut off my clothes, prep me for surgery and, if I was lucky, I’d retain about 50-70% mobility in my hand.Shit.The next thing she told me was they were going to give me 1mg of Dilaudid (which is 10 times stronger then morphine) for the pain. Let me tell you, the relief from that pain was unbelievable and, by far, the best feeling ever. It turns out I also started hitting on everyone in the room. Whoops.Jenn, being the kind, caring and most patient person ever, followed the ambulance to the burn center. By this time it was past 4am so between the drugs, pain and lack of sleep, I was a mess. Got checked into the burn center when the attending doctor came in (with his students), looked at my hand and gave me great news. With my job and my injuries, he decided cleaning, treatment and debriding of the hand and not surgery was the best option. However, what he did next almost cost him dearly. Without warning, he crushed my hand closed. Blisters started popping, one of them squirting me in the face. I almost punched him. Pain meds or not, that HURT! He explained he needed to make sure my tendons could still move and my hand could physically close if we weren't going into surgery. Thanks doc.. a little warning next time.The damage: half of my palm, the inside of my thumb, index and middle fingers had 2nd & third degree burns. My ring finger had a smaller 2nd degree burn as well. Large thick blisters had formed and my hand resembled something out of the Walking Dead.The next two weeks sucked, completely. I had to wash my hand, dry it, coat it in silvadene cream, cut oil bandage strips to the wound size, wrap those around the burns, wrap that in stretch gauze, then put on this weird (but cool) stretchy “tube” gauze to hold it all in place. I had to do this twice a day for the 1st week because the burns were “seeping” and within 45 minutes of having a new dressing, it would start to yellow. On top of that, I had to do it with one hand so I felt like a battlefield medic every time I had to rip open packages with my teeth.I went back for my appointment at the UNC burn center 2 weeks later and learned they would debride me (no, not firing a bride). This involves cutting away the dead flesh so the new flesh could start to breath and heal. I discovered a whole new level of anxiety when this very nice man took a very, very sharp pair of scissors and tweezers and started cutting holes in my wounds then peeling back the dead skin. Once he was done, I experienced a whole new range of “sensitivity” with the new, “beefy” flesh touching, well, ANYTHING. Who needed coffee in the morning, just breathe on my hand and I would be wide awake! The tissue looked like the beefiest juiciest red stewed tomato ever.The healing process from there went quickly for me (I was told I had good genes). My occupational therapy routine ( stretching, gripping, etc) brought yet another new level of pain and, interestingly enough, it felt like it was burning all over again every time I did it. The doctor told me the harder I worked on that, the better chance I had in recovering full mobility of my hand so despite the sheer suck of the entire process, I did as much as I could stand. Not long after I was getting into a routine with the OT and my hand started showing small signs of improvement, one thing I never considered started creeping in… nightmares.Oh boy, the nightmares! I am not sure which was worse.. experiencing the whole burning sensation 4 times a day when I was stretching my hand or waking up 10-15 times a night, gasping for air, because I just re-lived the actual burn. The only words I can think to describe that feeling is “this sucks”. I tried taking Zzzquil, drinking, pain meds and drinking and nothing would keep me asleep. That lasted for a good 3 months after the debridement & OT started. I honestly don’t know which was worse, the burn, the OT or the nightmares.Of course, there is the small matter of actually working and holding a camera with a bum hand. In this regard, I was so lucky in a few ways. Jenn, my business partner and best friend, is a fantastic photographer and she took the shoots that we couldn't reschedule. We also had a break for a couple of weeks so I didn’t have the immediate worry of having to shoot weddings. If Jenn hadn’t been there for me, it would of been difficult if not impossible to continue the business. She took lead on so many shoots and weddings because I just couldn't handle the physical stress of holding a camera for 8 hours. Having a partner like that, who can step in for long term is not only invaluable, it changed how we operate as a business. My wife was a saint during this time. She helped me with the bandages, put up with the nightmares and the psychological crap that I was going thru personally. Without all of these people in my corner, I know I wouldn't of come out as well as I have on the other end.I’m about a year out now and only have the occasional nightmare, which just wakes me up then I go back to sleep pretty quickly. The hand is tight still if I don't stretch it and i’ve injured my wrist 3 times from working out. Apparently the tendons all work together so while I did OT on my hand to recover the strength in that, the tendons in my wrist weakened and i’ve dislocated my wrist twice while working out on a punching bag. Other then that the scarring is minimal and the strength has fully returned. I cannot stress enough how LUCKY I am I don’t have permanent damage. The doctors told me this type of injury is common and I am one of the few that didn’t suffer permanent damage. I was lucky enough to have a burn center close to me that greatly aided in my recovery. This is how both Jenn and I feed our families so the potential “risk” of being helpful was far, far higher then I would ever knowingly accept.I reached out to a popular wedding sparkler company regarding the differences between wedding sparklers and “colored sparklers” and “why” this happened. Libba from www.sparklersonline.com had the following to say:
My dad is in the fireworks business and sells almost 15 different varieties of sparklers – over the years I have tried them all. The colored ones are not my favorites because they are too short, are super smoky but most importantly burn like a torch instead of the pretty sparkle like traditional sparklers. I do love the longer sparklers for weddings – the 20 inch and the 36 inch sparklers are ideal. The benefit of long sparklers is that each guest only needs one sparkler, needs to only light it once and that there is a very long handle to hold. Sparklers are such a beautiful and festive addition to weddings but must be used with good discretion. So, what did I learn from this whole ordeal and how do we do things differently now? One simple saying (which Jenn coined) - “Not my job.” Sparklers are DANGEROUS! They burn at over 2000 degrees and will instantly burn flesh (I'm so glad these are marketed as kids toys) and as you can see, almost cost me my career. There are so many things we as photographers do to go above and beyond for our clients. The downside is we never really consider the outcome of some of those decisions.Raleigh Wedding Photographer Brian Mullins has been shooting professionally since 2005 and won numerous awards including Independent Weekly, WPPI Accolade of Excellence and several other local organizations. His photography studio is based in Apex, NC where he focuses on both his wedding and commercial photography business. Brian and his business partner Jenn also teach multiple photography workshops for both amateur & professional photographers. [post_title] => How the Wrong Sparklers Almost Cost Me My Wedding Photography Career [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-the-wrong-sparklers-almost-cost-me-my-wedding-photography-career [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-10 14:38:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-10 18:38:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=51219 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 33 [filter] => raw ))