Photographing an In-Home Arcade


Most of the luxury homes I photograph have at least one room dedicated to entertainment. Maybe it’s a pool table in the garage, or an in-home movie theater. Then there’s the in-home bowling alley. But a recent shoot took the cake for the number of arcade games in one room.

In-Home Arcade

It’s one thing to add six arcade machines in what used to be a garage; but the homeowner went the extra step of knocking out a bedroom and bathroom to add another machine…

In-Home Arcade

..and did I mention the 80-inch LCD TV?

In-Home Arcade

Who needs bedrooms and bathrooms in a house when you’ve got an arcade? Actually, that red sofa does have a pull out bed.

Here are a couple more looks at the room:

In-Home Arcade

In-Home Arcade

All this just leaves one question: Can I borrow some tokens?

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Misappropriation of Photography Credit


Take a look at this picture:

Erica Shain of Two Becomes One

I took that picture last October for Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine.  The story, with a different picture, ran in an article a few months later:

Article in Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine

click for larger image

A month or so ago, the editor contacted me and wanted additional photos from the shoot. I sent her the picture above (the first one).  Well, on Tuesday I noticed the magazine’s Facebook profile picture was from one of their edition’s cover*:

Cover of Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine

Look familiar? It’s the same picture I took, only the subject has been cut out and placed on a different background. At first, I was excited to see one of my pictures on the cover. But my heart sank when I saw the photo credit was given to another photographer. I contacted the editor and the Facebook image was corrected immediately; but the printed issue went out with the other photographer’s name. Apparently the other photographer took the image of the background. The editor said she would print a correction in the next issue.

On the same day, she asked if I wanted to take on another assignment. Here’s where I need your opinion. My gut says “no”. I’m still a little hurt and peeved by the mistake. A tiny correction inside the magazine which most people won’t read or care about does not compare to the COVER of a magazine which another photographer got credit for.  So, right now, I’m inclined to not take any more assignments from them. What do you think? Should I burn that bridge? Or am I overreacting? I understand it was an honest mistake (read below), but it deprived me of a lot of exposure.

I should note that I don’t get paid, per say, for the assignments. Each hour is worth a certain amount of ad space in the magazine.

I’d love to hear your thoughts….

*the magazine has several editions targeting different areas in Central Florida. Each edition is very similar but has a different cover image. So I understand how the mistake was made. They just replace the image and the accompanying headline, but leave everything else, including the photographer’s credit, the same.

What Kind of Photographer Are You?


Just a quick note that will hopefully clarify something for my fellow photographers:

I once heard a photographer say they were going on an editorial shoot, but it wasn’t being published. Another organized a “photojournalism” shoot, but the very act of staging it takes out the “journalism” part.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) says there are three main categories of photography. They are: Commercial, Editorial and Retail. Commercial photography is used to sell a product or service. Editorial is for education or journalism and retail is for personal use.

So let’s say you get hired by a local business to take pictures for their website; that’s commercial. Shooting something for a magazine? Editorial (unless its selling something which is commercial). Wedding photography or portraits fall under retail.

This is where licensing your work (aka, getting a signed contract) becomes so important. You see,  the categories are not mutually exclusive. Let’s say, for example that you shoot a wedding (retail). Then, you submit an image to a wedding magazine (editorial). After running it, the dress designer decides they want to use it in an ad (commercial). Can you say “pay day”? By licensing your work you can make money each time the image is used, charging different amounts for each license.

By the way, “photojournalism”,which falls under editorial, means to observe and document an event without interfering. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when it’s misused having spent the majority of my adult life in that field.

Another pet peeve of mine is when someone photographs a “trash the dress” shoot and the dress is not actually trashed. I’m just sayin’.

Ok, got that off my chest. 🙂 Here are some reading suggestions:

ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography, 7th Edition

Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition

Photographing Motion at the Baldwin Park Doggie Derby


Recently, the organizer of the Orlando Digital Photography Group, Charlie, posted an image on Facebook of a man on a bicycle in Winter Park. It sparked some conversation about the panning technique where the man was in focus and the background is blurred to show motion.    

I chimed in with some tips and a note about a setting on the Canon 70-200mm IS lens. It has two modes of stabilization, one to reduce shake in “normal” situations and one while panning. So when the Baldwin Park Doggie Derby rolled around last weekend, I thought it might be a good time to put it to use.    

Doggie Derby

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The 3rd annual Doggie Derby raises money for Canine Companions for Independence which provides assistant dogs to people with disabilities. It was a hot day but there was a good turnout. Adding to the vibe was bluegrass versions of popular songs like “Walk This Way”, “Sweet Emotion”, “Final Countdown” and “She Will Be Loved”.   

The image above is really the only good panning shot I got. I got a few others, but they’re not tack sharp to my eyes.  It takes some practice and experimenting with different shutter speeds.   

I saw a couple of other photographers with pro-level gear there and judging by the pictures I’d seen of past events, they were getting the same shots; dogs coming right at them or dogs frozen in motion…and all while standing. I crouched or squatted down for most shots to get a different perspective. And I tried the panning technique to get a different look.   

So the next time you’re out shooting a moving target, try it. First, make sure your camera’s focus mode is set to capture moving subjects (it’s called AI-Servo for Canon, AF-C for Nikon). Then focus on your subject and press the shutter half way. Pan with your subject and fire while panning. The slower the shutter speed, the more blurred the background; but you’ll have to play around with it to find the sweet spot. I can’t tell you how many shots I threw away!   

Scott Kelby posted blogs here  and here about the technique while shooting indy race cars. To paraphrase, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get the shot.   

You can check out more pics from the derby on my Flickr Pro photostream.

Photograph a Cheer and Dance Competition? Bring It!


So  I tried something new last weekend. I’ve never shot a sporting event nor have I ever shot a concert. Now I know what both feel like! 

My girlfriend’s cousin, Jordan, was competing in the Cheerleaders of America (COA) “Ultimate National Championship” at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL. If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of a cheer competition on TV, let me tell you, you have no idea what it’s like to actually be there. 

Cheerleading Competition

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The hotel grounds were teeming with teams of tweens…sorry, couldn’t help myself! But seriously, how else would you describe hundreds (maybe thousands) of pre-teen girls wearing WAY too much make-up and cheerleading uniforms? I’m guessing the heavy make-up is meant for the judges to see from where they’re sitting…if they happen to be sitting on the planet Mars. 

Cheerleading Competition

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But let me cut to the chase. Jordan’s team, Top Gun, was on; so I enter the competition room. It was dark and loud. Let me emphasize the word LOUD. If you like dark rooms with loud techno/dance music blaring, you would feel right at home…glow sticks optional. When I got in, the team before Top Gun was wrapping up. So I took this time to figure out my exposure. But it wasn’t long before I had to head to the front when Jordan’s team came in. 

I was shooting with my 70-200 f/2.8 lens. I like to shoot in manual mode, so I dialed in f/2.8, at 250th of a second and ISO about 800. I don’t like shooting at high ISO, but even with the stage lights, I needed it. I also didn’t want to shoot at f/2.8 because I knew I could run into a depth of field problem if I wanted more than one part of the image in focus; but I needed the large aperture to let in more light. 

Things moved so fast…and I don’t just mean the cheerleaders. I mentioned concert photography earlier because it’s similar in a couple respects: you have stage lights, but you only have about 3 minutes to get the shot. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to look at my LCD and evaluate the shot. I was shooting on burst mode; 6.5 frames per second and focusing mostly on Jordan. At one point I switched to shutter priority and was around 350th of a second. I was really trying to capture the flipping sequences. 

Cheerleading Competition

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Cheerleading Competition

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Looking at some of the frames, they’re still not tack sharp. If I get to do it again, I’d shoot at a minimum of 350th, boost the ISO to maybe 1600 and a narrower f-stop. 

About 3 minutes later it was all over. The Top Gun teams (there are different classes) took the All Stars Level, 2,3 and 5 Grand Champion titles. See this link for the full results, if you’re interested. We took the rest of the afternoon to walk around the hotel and enjoy the pool. If you’ve never been to Gaylord Palms, I recommend going just to see the inside. It is massive. They have a tropical atrium complete with alligators and turtles. Click the link above to see a picture on their home page. 

All in all, I’m glad I got to try something new; it was definitely a learning experience that tested me while pushing me outside my comfort level.

Failure to Register Copyright Cost Photographer $201,550.


gavel on top of laptop

Not to beat a dead horse but…my post on copyright didn’t get many reads. As I said, I know it’s not a sexy topic. But who couldn’t use an extra 2-hundred grand? And that’s just part of what one photographer could have won in his copyright lawsuit.

I’ll link to the article at the end; be warned, it’s got some legal speak. Here’s the breakdown: A painter works from photographs to make his paintings. Another artists allegedly takes one of those photographs without permission and makes a painting from it; in essence, a copy. That artist dies but his wife puts the painting for sale on a web site. The first artist (the one who took the picture) sues and wins $201,550 in “actual damages”. Because he did not register the copyright in a timely manner, he had to prove “actual damages” and was not eligible for “statutory damages” which could have been much more. In the end, a court found he had not proven “actual damages”, which is hard to prove, and threw out the award.

Here’s the article:

http://copyrightlitigation.blogspot.com/2010/03/4th-circuit-fine-art-paintings-from.html