What file format?

File Types and Color Profiles

Anyone who’s ever used Adobe Photoshop can tell you there are 20 different ways to save an image file. Each of these formats has a specific use and reason to exist – but for those of us in the still photography industry there are four major file formats. (more…)

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Shoes matter

I would love to say that all it takes to succeed in this industry is talent, passion and hard work. But of course, that's not how it works. Yes it…

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Putting together your corporate team

Now don’t let the term “corporate” scare you. I understand that most of us don’t want to live in the corporate world, myself included. I have no desire to work in a cubicle, make decisions by committee or wear a suit every day. But a big part of our business is reminding our clients and customers that we are expert at what we do. (more…)

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Stand and Deliver

or... Do What You Say. I continue to be amazed at how many businesses are out there with really crappy customer service. Don't be one of them. This industry is…

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Copyright part 3, Protect thyself

Anyone who’s been in this business long enough has a story about being ripped off. Whether it’s about unpaid invoices, clients who make unreasonable demands, or outright fraud, my experience has been there are two types of professional photographers. Those who have been cheated, and those who will. We’ll talk about invoicing, unreasonable clients and fraud later. Right now – stolen images. (more…)

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Copyright, part two

Part Two – Licensing usage

Now that we’ve determined that artists are entitled to profit from their creations, we’ve got to answer the question of who actually holds the copyright, ie who owns the work. US copyright law was originally codified in 1790 but for practical purposes, the Copyright act of 1976 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) are the laws that currently affect us. (more…)

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Copyright, Part One

This is the first of several in a series on copyright, as it stands in the US, and how it affects photographers.

Part One – The basics.

Photography is copyrighted intellectual property, just like books, music and software. Like musicians, authors and filmmakers, photographers are paid a fee for creating the work and then residuals or royalties for the subsequent use of those works. An artist’s ability to profit from their creations is a Constitutional right, Article 1, Section 8:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Not to get too political here, but… The framers realized that a stable and prosperous society is aided by the ability of the innovative and inventive to profit from their innovations and inventions. This may all seem like political mumbo jumbo, but in the face of those who think copyright is a hindrance to free expression (if you liked Napster, this means you) it’s an important rebuttal. Without the profit motive to, well, motivate us, why create.

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Did you get the model and property release?

You should have. I know this, I preach this, I’m supposed to know better. But what happened yesterday?

I got an email from the editor of one of my magazine clients. She’s working on a piece about interior design and her writer is one I’ve worked with in the past. The writer said, “Steve and I did a story a few years ago and I think he’s got some shots that would work well for this.” The editor asks to see the shots and if there’s anything there that will work for her she’ll pay my stock rate to use them. Great!

This image has a property release
This image has a property release

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