Get Schooled in Lighting


In my last post, I mentioned Joe McNally and David Hobby (the grand masters of off-camera flash) are going a cross-country tour called the Flash Bus.

Now they both announced new instructional DVDs. Above is the promo video for the McNally DVD called “The Language of Light”.  No word on pricing yet; his blog talks about the Flash Bus and promises a link to Adorama to get the DVD.

[UPDATE: The link for Adorama lists the price for $159.95, the same price for Hobby’s set]

Over on the Strobist site, David Hobby goes into more detail on his “Lighting in Layers” DVD. It’s a 6-disc, 9-hour DVD covering six shoots (plus a bonus CD-ROM) for $159.95. For beginners, Hobby recommends the “Strobist Lighting Seminar“, but that’s getting updated soon so you might want to hold off.

If you want to learn about small flash and off-camera flash, these are the guys to learn it from and now there are more ways to access their wealth of knowledge.

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5D MKIII Rumors and More in Photo News Round-Up


Canon 5D MKII

[NOTE: If you came to this blog post looking for information on the 5D MKIII, this post was written in Jan. 2011. The latest news is that Canon may announce the MKIII on March 2, 2012. Check the Canon Rumors site linked below for the latest.]

If you follow the Canon Rumors site, then you know there’s been lots of buzz about the replacement for the 5D MKII. The rumors vary on release dates, even naming convention and a possible 28MP sensor.

Well, PC World just stirred the pot a bit by listing its most anticipated cameras of 2011. Among them is the 5D MKIII. Here’s the juicy part:

It may offer a 24 Megapixel sensor and dual DIGIC 4 processors. The 3-inch display may be an articulated LCD screen with 1.04 million dots. What is more, it may be touch sensitive, making it the first full-frame camera with such technology.

The article says to expect it before the end of June. We shall see. It also says it could be called the 6D and I disagree with that. The lower the number the higher the class; hence the 7D is not as advanced as the 1D series but it is more advanced, than say, the 60D. So to call it the 6D would imply that it’s not as good as the 5D MKII. Why would Canon update the MKII and not make it significantly better? I would say it might be called the Mark III or the 4D.

Also on the list is a Panasonic Lumix which makes a perfect segue into a bit of news I spotted on the PetaPixel site. The company just announced four new Lumix compact cameras. Hit the link for the details.

Lastly, Joe McNally and David Hobby (Strobist) are going on tour! No, it’s not a rock concert, but no two people rock more when it comes to off-camera flash. It’s called the Flash Bus Tour and it might be coming to a city near you. If  you want to learn hot-shoe and off camera flash, you must go. Just don’t throw your panties on stage…Just sayin’.

Photography Education and Inspiration


You don’t have to go to school to be a photographer, but you do have to educate yourself. This involves more than just going out and shooting. If you go on one hundred shoots and don’t learn anything, then you’re just running in circles. So in this post, I hope to share with you the sources I turn to for education and inspiration. When I wrote about my top blogs to follow, I was hoping you would find some blogs to follow yourself. So in this post I’m sharing the main sources I turn to to learn about photography.

1.) Scott Kelby. If you’ve never heard of him, Scott Kelby is the president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and a best selling author of photoshop and photography books. He tours the country giving photoshop seminars and publishes a blog which I follow every single day. He also heads up KelbyTV; the central location for episodes of Photoshop User TV, D-Town TV and more…and it’s all FREE. D-Town TV  just launched it’s third season. I highly recommend going back to watch the first two. The first season was Nikon-centric, but the principles and tips are universal. The weekly online show talks about gear, how to use it and great tips.
  But wait, there’s more. KelbyTraining.com is where I learned photoshop.  It’s a subscription service; $24.99 per month or $199 per year. The first three lessons of each course are free. If you look at the list of courses, not only is it comprehensive, but they are taught by the best known names in their fields.
  I mentioned Kelby is a best-selling author; for photography check out his Digital Photography books. There are three volumes. It’s great for beginners, but even more experienced shooters can pick up some helpful time-saving tips.

2.) David Hobby. He is better known for his blog Strobist.com. If you want to learn about off-camera flash, this is the place to go. Start with Lighting 101; watch the 8-minute video and continue reading the series.

3.) Joe McNally. When it comes to using off-camera flash, Joe is a master. He’s shot for Time, Life, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. Whether it’s one flash or four, his approach is simple, but the results are amazing. Joe’s coming to Orlando this weekend and I am psyched to see him in person. Joe is also a good writer and his blog is always insightful and entertaining.
  His first book, “The Moment it Clicks,” is more inspirational than educational. His second book, “The Hot Shoe Diaries,” is more educational, though Nikon-centric. I liked how the chapters were divided up by how many flashes he uses. So Chapter 2 shows you what you can do with just one flash. Chapter 3 progresses with two or more flashes etc.
 

Those are my top three heavy-hitters. But I consume photography information everyday; from blogs, articles and even twitter links. Go back and check out my top blogs on AllTop. I scan those everyday the way someone would scan a newspaper. If routinely read at least 10 articles from those blogs, provided there is new content. 

This is a list, for example, of the articles on one site I visit: Virtual Photography Studio. As you can see, the articles about building a photography business are extensive…and that’s just one site!

If you’re interested in wedding photography, check out David Ziser’s Digital Pro Talk blog. David is a renowned wedding photographer and his blog features techniques and business tips.

The Still Image with Crash Taylor is an awesome site for inspiration. It features one or two photographs from a photographer who explains what equipment they used, the creative process and post processing.

I subscribe via email to the Digital Photography School. It is packed with quick-read articles on photography, gear and post-processing.

I’m sure I’m leaving something out, so I’ll be sure to update this post as I come across other useful resources.

-Harry

Ironclad Protection For Your Images At Rock Bottom Prices!


The Copyright

The moment you take a picture, it’s yours. You created it. You own the copyright. Copyright means just that: you have the right to copy it. So how do you protect your rights?

You can watermark your images (more on that later). You can post a disclaimer on your Facebook page. You can have a verbal agreement (this is about as good as a nod and a wink). But if someone really wants to use a picture you took, in a manner or for a purpose that you did not consent to, there’s not much stopping them.

The only way to protect your images in a court of law is to register the copyright.

Hey wait, come back! Yeah, I know; it’s not sexy. It’s not even fun. I mean I get it. As photographers we want to spend our time…uh…taking pictures! Who wants to edit? Learn about taxes and limited liability corporations? Booooring.

What’s really at stake here is money. You took the picture. If someone wants to use it for advertising or promotion, they should pay you for it. This is called “licensing” (more on that later too).

To quote the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP): “You do not have to register your work with the Copyright Office to acquire your copyright. However, the legal protections available to you are limited if the photographs are not registered. Those limitations can translate into lost income.”

Worth More Than A Thousand Words

Let me cut to the chase and then I’ll circle around again. It costs $35.

Hey wait, come back!

I know, I know. We’re saving every penny for that fast super-zoom lens! But first, you should know it’s not $35 per image. It’s $35 for a batch. As many as you can register during a one-hour session. Now think about it; how many pieces of photographic gear do you own that costs less than $35? I can think of two and one does nothing but blow air.

Now those 35-dollars can mean hundreds, thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars for you if someone infringes on your copyright. And it’s good for 70 years after you die!

So let’s say you copyright an image today. You die at age 100. Sixty-nine years later your great-great-great grandson discovers a picture you took being used in a Nike ad. Because you left your estate to your heirs…CHA CHING! Your great-great-great-great grandson can now go to college!

This scenario may seemed a little far-fetched. But only a little….

I first opened my eyes to the process of copyrighting through kelbytraining.com. I highly recommend the subscription, but you can watch the first three lessons of each course for free. Over there, Jack Reznicki and Ed Greenberg have a course on the topic and they walk you through the process of registering your work online. They tell the story of the late Stuart Gross who, in 1987, took a routine picture of 6-year old Lisa Steinberg . The little girl died 9 days later at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. The story made national headlines. The picture became evidence in court and was licensed to specific media outlets under specific conditions.

Greenberg says 22 years later the picture is still being infringed and he’s brought more than a dozen claims against some of the top media outlets  in the country, including CBS News.

The photographer is dead. The picture lives on. And so does his copyright.

Go watch the course (at least the first 3 lessons) HERE.

gavel on top of laptop

THE eCO SYSTEM

No, not the eco-system. The eCO system. That’s the electronic copyright office. I’m going to cop-out here because I really cannot walk you through the process better than Carolyn Wright over at the Photo Attorney blog.

The entire article with step-by-step instructions is here:

http://www.naturescapes.net/docs/index.php/articles/341

If you prefer the video tutorial see the kelbytraining.com link above.

OTHER STEPS

Chances are if someone is using your image, it isn’t malicious. They probably didn’t “steal” it. They’re probably just a little ignorant. If you find someone who infringed your copyright, don’t go calling the attorney just yet.  In fact, a lawsuit is probably the last step. There are ways to deal with it. But try walking into an attorney’s office with your story and the first thing he or she will ask you is “Did you copyright it?”.  If you didn’t, they probably won’t even take your case.

The first thing you should do is have a contract. Always. If you put someone in front of your lens, hand them a contract before you press the shutter. Shooting your best friend’s wedding? Shooting your neighbors newborn baby?  Get a contract! What if that picture ended up in a bridal magazine ad or the cutest baby in the world billboard with NO compensation or credit to you? Get a contract and specify the use and terms. When Stuart Gross took that picture of the little girl, he never imagined it would become such a huge story, or that the image would be used 22 years later, even after his death.

Next, add your contact and copyright info to your metadata. If it’s in the metadata, someone can’t later say that they had no way of contacting you.

Disable “right-click” on your website so no one can right-click and “save” the image.

None of these options is fail-safe. Like I said if someone really wants your image, they’re gonna get it. But a combination of these methods will help protect you.

LICENSING

Let’s clear something up here. When someone pays you for a picture you are not selling the picture. You are not selling your copyright. You are selling a license for that person to use your picture in a specific way.  Unless, it’s specified in a contract, or you are a work-for-hire photographer (that’s another blog for another day), you retain the copyright.  Now a photographer can sell their copyright; but that will net him much more money than a license.

WATERMARKING

I use watermarks sparingly. I think they distract from the image. But something David Hobby wrote in 2007 has always stuck with me:

“The first thing I would do would be to lose the arty signatures embedded within the photos. Very “Buck’s County Arts and Crafts Show,” IMO. You want to be aiming higher than that. If you feel you must stick your name into the image area, make it very small, in a bottom corner, with a “©” symbol (created with an option “g”).”

Actually, the copyright symbol doesn’t even have to appear on your image to be protected. (source: ASMP Copyright Primer; link below)

‘Nuff said.

I know this has been a long blog post. But it’s important. I’m not an attorney, so take this advice as a starting point only. And please check out the helpful links below. Those links have links within them that you should follow.

Look, you spent thousands of dollars on gear and all your free time taking and editing pictures. Why not protect them?

HELPFUL STUFF

LINKS

Copyright.gov FAQs

The eCO System

ASMP Copyright Primer

Pro Imaging

BLOGS

The Copyright Zone (Reznicki and Greenberg)

Photo Attorney (Carolyn Wright)

ARTICLES

Help, I’ve Been Infringed!

I’m Gonna Sue!

The Blue in the Face List Pt.1

The Blue in the Face List Pt.2

Life After Death

BOOKS

Business and Legal Forms for Photographers

Best Business Practices for Photographers