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The Goal Of Tech Companies In Photography Is To Generate More

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 10:21am

they see photography as a communication tool. Like words. A language to interpret. While professionals certainly do not ignore photography as a communication tool, they also see it as a product . The finality of a photograph, for a pro, is to sell it. The finality of a photograph, for a tech company, it to generate more. What they sell is a continuous, uninterrupted stream. They do not care about individual images, they care about scale. A photograph is only as good as it effect on other users.

via Instagram knows more about photography than you | Photo/Tech.

Categories: Business

Pricing & Negotiating: Book Cover For Politician’s Memoir

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 10:06am

by Craig Oppenheimer Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Seamless and environmental portraits of a prominent politician.

Licensing: Use of up to two images on the front/back cover of a book with a print run of up to 200,000.

Location:  A state capitol building in the Northeast.

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Corporate and portraiture specialist

Client: Large publishing company

Here is the estimate:



The publishing company was working with an active politician to create and distribute his memoir, and they asked the photographer to capture a few seamless and environmental portraits for the front and back covers. The assignment was pretty straightforward, but they needed the shoot to take place within a few days in a non-local city to the photographer, and given the subject, we knew that the photographer would have very little time to actually shoot the subject. These factors put upward pressure on the fee since it required a skilled photographer to work in these conditions and complete the project within a very tight timeframe.

The photographer completed a nearly identical project for the same publisher a few years ago, and while he couldn’t recall the print run of the book, the publisher agreed to a fee of $8,500 plus expenses. A quick chat with the publisher’s art director led me to believe that they were willing to pay the same amount this time, but they hoped to keep the bottom line around $15,000. The fee sounded healthy for the print run, but it did include two images, and I anticipated that their contract might include rights that would put additional upward pressure on an appropriate fee.

Just for reference, I did check the fee against a few pricing resources. Corbis suggested a rate of $1,258, but their options max out at a print run of 30,000. For a print run higher than 30,000, they ask that you contact them. Getty suggested $2,325 for a print run of up to 250,000 including electronic distribution, and Fotoquote suggested a rate up to $2,835 for a similar print run. If I didn’t know what the publishing company paid previously, I may have priced the two images around $2,750 each, and then added on a creative fee of a few thousand dollars, which happens to bring the fee close to $8,500. This (along with previous experience) reassured me that the fee was appropriate.

Photographer Travel/Pre-Production: The photographer planned to fly to the location the day before the shoot, and since the actual shooting time would likely wrap before noon, he planned to catch a flight back that same day. Additionally, he’d spend a considerable amount of time beforehand to coordinate his crew and make travel arrangements. We figured that getting there and back would add up to a full day, and added on a second day to account for the pre-production.

Assistants: Both assistants would be driving to the location from a major metropolitan city, but since the location was still a good distance from them, we figured they’d drive up the night before the shoot as well (bringing us to one shoot day, and two half-travel days). The first assistant would be responsible for renting an SUV and coordinating the equipment rental, so we added an extra day at a lower rate for him to do so beforehand.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: This is typically much lower than the rate I’d include for a hair/makeup stylist, but they were local to the remote location and offered to work a half day at this rate. We originally anticipated that the stylist would travel in with the assistants, and I’d typically anticipated a day-rate of up to $1,200 if that was the case. However, I wasn’t going to argue with the local stylist’s rate, especially since we knew the travel expenses would likely put us over the client’s suggested budget of $15,000.

SUV Rental: This covered three days to rent a large SUV big enough for the two assistants and the equipment ($475), fuel ($100) and insurance ($125).

Lodging: While we probably could have gotten away with a cheap hotel around $100/night (or less), we anticipated having to pay higher rates since the reservations would be made just a day before traveling. I figured $200/night for three rooms would be plenty.

Equipment Rental: The photographer would bring his camera and a minimal amount of gear, but the first assistant would still need to pick up a backup body with multiple lenses ($500), a roll of paper and stands for the seamless backdrop ($100), as well as various lighting/grip equipment including backups ($1,500). The backup equipment pushed the rental fees up a bit, but when you only have a few minutes with a subject, you better be prepared if your equipment fails.

Airfare: Rates for flights were about $500, and I anticipated paying $50 in baggage fees both ways.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time it would take the photographer to download, edit, color process, rename files and deliver a web gallery for the publisher to review.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: The photographer would further process the two final images that the publisher selected, and he anticipated it taking less than an hour per image.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Taxi, Misc.: I included a $75/day/person “per diem” to cover meals for the photographer and his assistants for both the travel and shoot days ($450 total), as well as $100 for the taxi the photographer would take to/from the airport and $200 for unanticipated miscellaneous expenses.

Results: Despite the fact that our estimate was above their suggested budget, the photographer was quickly awarded the job and completed the assignment two days later. While the publisher signed our estimate/terms, they also provided us with the following contract:


The formatting and organization of the contract was a bit confusing, and it seemed like a combination of a “fill in the blank” document (a lot of which was already filled out by the art director) and a “choose your own adventure” novel (especially section 4). In addition to some reformatting, I made the following changes:

- I noted that there would be 2 selected final images

- In section 4, I clarified that they’d pay the photographer $10,000 (his creative/licensing fee plus his travel/pre-production fees) plus expenses.

- I initially clarified that the rights included in section 5 were for a print run of up to 200,000. However, the publisher’s rights manager preferred to not include that language. He said “occasionally [we] exceed our estimates, and we do not want to find ourselves in violation of the terms of our own agreement if the book surpasses expectations.” We were willing to remove the language about the print run, but I wanted the photographer to benefit from the use of his photos in future editions (including foreign language editions) of the book. I revised this section to state that they can use the photos in the “initial English language edition” only. It could be printed and distributed abroad, but not in any other language.

- Further down in section 5, they asked to detail a pre-determined rate for subsequent paperback editions. We noted that the photographer would receive 50% of his creative/licensing fee for use of his photos on the first English language paperback trade or mass-market editions of the book. This was based on the agreed upon percentage from his previous project with the publisher, plus our experience and knowledge of other publishing contracts.

- Lastly, I noted in section 7 that the photographer would retain self-promotional rights to the images.

Here is the revised version of the contract:


The publishing company accepted our revisions, and the book will be in stores within the next few months.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.

Categories: Business

Serve Somebody

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 12:01am

[by Barry Schwartz]

There are all kinds of assumptions about the act of “giving back”, and one is that it’s done for free, but that seems too limiting. Giving back can take all kinds of forms, including getting paid, like a job working for a charity or non-profit, where the trade is usually less pay but more satisfaction. Another assumption is there’s some strong reason to be of service; that you’re operating outside your normal range of activity for a particular reason, that there’s something special involved,.

But service doesn’t really have to be about whether it’s free or paid or something special. Whatever drives one to be helpful is part-and-parcel of who you are.

I’ve given back in all kinds of ways, from free advice on kitchen design (which I used to do professionally) to serving on a board (which I had never done before). The work might seem to involve different skills, muscles, passions, but they all had one thing in common: me and what I care about, and it didn’t matter if I was helping set up chairs for a program or doing pro-bono work for a charity.

I approach pro-bono work with the same intention I do my paid work: do it well, make it matter, make it interesting, and for something I actually care about. No difference.

Bob Dylan had it right in his song, “Gotta Serve Somebody”. It’s about being yourself and it’s about the higher calling. Really, no difference at all.

Barry Schwartz is a photographer, writer, and designer in Los Angeles who used to not be able to tell the difference between paid and pro-bono work, which he does not recommend as a business strategy. 


Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Getty's Flickr Agreement Ends Like Titanic

Photo Business Forum - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:47am
Getty Images, a Carlysle Group (NASDAQ: CG) company, today, announced a "notice to terminate" their relationship with Flickr as a source of images. What was launched in March of 2009, when Getty's editors were characterized by Flickr as "...inspired by the quality and creativity of our members...." (Building the Flickr Collection on Getty Images, 1/21/09) has now ended.

The parallel between the launch of the largest ship in the world, and it's eventual sinking because of poor stewardship is similar to Getty and Flickr, where arrogant captains in both settings think they know what they are doing. Getty, arguably the largest stock operation in the world, as the Titanic, ran into the immovable object that is the iceberg in the form of Flickr. Now as the executives of Getty stand amidst the musicians entertaining the unknowing on the aft decks, the ship is taking on water. It's only a matter of time before she breaks apart and sinks to unfathomable depths.

Of course the agreement didn't end before Getty sifted through, what they characterize as their having "...assessed over 90 million images, selecting 900,000 from 42,000 contributors as part of our Flickr collection." Interestingly enough, using the $0.15 per image valuation factor Getty is said to use to value their collection, that's only a valuation of $135,000 over the course of 5 years. I am sure that they paid editors more than that to cull through all the images, so I'd count that as a bad business decision. Given they have two years to make up enough money to generate the $1,200,000,000 for their 2016 loan, the Flickr deal seems to have generated content that is a few zero's short of solving their problem. Consider that they had an existing pool of 9,000,000 images, which was a massive library of content for them to consider, and they still were only able to select 900,000 images. With that pool of images exhausted, and the relationship now terminated, they now have to look at the normal ingestion rates of images into their systems, and there does not seem to be any mathematical way that they can bring in enough images to satisfy the $1.2B loan that is coming due.

(Continued, after the Jump)
What's amazing is that, if you consider that they looked at 90,000,000 images, and they only came up 900,000, that's only a 1% success rate for a salable image from Flickr. Compare this to their stated production levels at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games - "our photographers captured 1,004,849 images, of which 52,362 were distributed to the world..." and you get a 5.2% ratio. Now, to be fair, I'm sure Getty wanted to report a figure higher than a million, so they likely counted the many times a photographer producing 12-14 frames per second used their camera's maximum capture speeds, so it's reasonable to consider that a 2 second burst producing 25 images would only produce 1-2 selects of the best image, however, they're boasting the numbers, so when you celebrate by the numbers you are subject to criticism by those same numbers.

We here at Photo Business News, in 2008 reported, in The Curious Case of Getty and Flickr (7/11/08) about much of the problems that the Getty deal with Flickr was for photographers. With Getty last week having culled through what they believe to be all the salable/valuable images, announcing their image embedding feature ( Monetizing Getty's 35M Image Archive via FREE Editorial Uses, 3/7/14) put them in competition with Flickr, which has a slideshow/embedding feature since 2007.

Getty announced: Statement by Getty Images re Flickr

Getty Images and Flickr have worked together for five great years, celebrating the originality of photography enthusiasts worldwide. Getty Images curators have assessed over 90 million images, selecting 900,000 from 42,000 contributors as part of our Flickr collection.

Getty Images has provided notice to terminate our existing agreement with Flickr. Our original agreement reached its end, and while we continue to be open to working with Yahoo!/Flickr, we do not have a new agreement at this time. We will continue to work with the tens of thousands of contributors and license the existing content.

Innovation and evolution are at the core of our work at Getty Images and we are continuously developing new technologies and tools to enhance our crowd-sourced imagery for our contributors and customers. We recently launched Getty Images Moment, our new iPhone app designed for contributors, as well as global content partnerships with EyeEm and Samsung. We look forward to announcing further developments in the coming months. Watch this space. These developments are not surprising, however, they do indicate a continued flailing about as the Getty leadership team, who clearly not only don't get it but are also playing catchup in many other areas where they are behind. It's only a matter of time before Carlysle's investment turns out to be as ill-fated as the Titanic. Strike up the band for one more melody. Don't bother watching the crew scurry about for the lifeboats. Don't say you weren't warned.
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Categories: Business

The five-year-long Getty Images-Flickr partnership has come to an end

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:19am

Getty Images will no longer be searching and browsing through Flickr photostreams to invite users to submit their photos — instead Flickr users have to use the same procedure as the other Getty and iStock contributors and send in full-sized, captioned and released images to them for review and selection.

via The Next Web.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Angela Cappetta: Built on Toil Promo Piece

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:13am

Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 9.40.08 AM

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Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 9.41.23 AMBuilt on Toil

Designers: Liron Kormas, Kormas Studio

Dancers: Joffrey Ballet School

Photographer: Angela Cappetta

What inspired you to develop this body of work, is ballet in your background?
I trained until I was about 20 but was never professionally serious about it.  Since I live nearby, I’d see the dancers everyday.  At the deli, coffee shop, drug store.  I wanted to photograph them in their environment, but that was all I knew. So one day I sat down and wrote a letter to the director of the Joffrey.

Included was a project statement for pictures which didn’t exist yet. It was called it: Built on Toil, which likened the trainees to soldiers doing a job under command of a general. I saw it clearly: TriX and a 6×9 punched up with the bare bulb of a Lumedyne. All I needed was for him to say yes. Later that day he wrote back (I almost fell off chair.)

He explained that as he is bombarded with requests from photographers he customarily says no. However, he was so struck by the clarity of the proposal, he offered complete access for as long as I wanted. The next day I started, and continued for two years.

Is your intent an art book or self published piece?
At first, I just wanted to photograph, but now that its been a few years, I’ve roughed up the prints in my darkroom and have a better idea of how the pictures should look.

The current promotional piece, designed by Liron Kormas of Kormas Studio, for now, is the bridge between this and a future book, which I’ll work on next.  This iteration of the project was entirely Liron’s idea.  She asked me if she could design it and I jumped at the chance.  She’s brilliant.

How do you think your images express discipline before maturity, as that is normal practice in ballet to start at such a young age?
Discipline is something that has to be cultivated very early in order to shape any athlete.  In that regard, it’s a very adult series of decisions to be physically and mentally challenged so seriously.  Then, the dancers grow into the discipline, and they decide what their aspirations are.  Some continue training, others start auditioning.  One of the trainees from the Joffrey got a job in the touring cast of Cats right out of conservatory, another dances with a company full time.  They aren’t all that lucky but I don’t think that matters to them.

Were the dancers self conscious around you?
I’ll admit there was a lot of me trying not to get kicked in the head. But these are consummate professionals.  That’s part of their training.  An elephant could drop in the center of that studio and they wouldn’t break focus. On the floor in the middle of their routines with my gear in their faces, they’d glide around me.

What tools did you use to break into their inner circle?
The dancers were incredibly gracious.  They welcomed me.  I’m still in touch with them.  I even cast one as a model for an upcoming editorial.

How long has this this body of work taken you to shoot?
It was a two year shooting project and another year of printing. But it percolated years before that.

What did you learn about drive and determination from these dancers?
I’m interested in photographing the fundamental basis of life as it is meaningful to that particular journey.  The takeaway from every project is different.  This one was a parallel to my own daily discipline to live an artist’s life.  You’re in it or you aren’t.  If you’re not completely, totally 100% there, then you shouldn’t even bother.

Seeing the dancers working together reminded me that having a community of respectable colleagues is important at any stage of development.  Some of them would show up at night, go into an empty studio, push play, and hit their routines hard, just to do it.  It was beautiful to watch.

When I was in my darkroom. I’d see that determination in the tray and something would amp up inside of me and I’d readdress how the print looked or what I wanted from it. It was infectious.  I’d look at my feet, which were in fifth position.

Categories: Business

The Power of Kindness & Giving Back

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:01am

[by Chris Winton-Stahle]

A respected friend, and established director, once said to me, “I believe in the power of kindness. Pay it forward – keep the cycle going.” This is the mantra that my wife, Heidi, and I follow when giving back to the consumer and business communities.

Why Give Back?

Just think of the potential! When an entire community bands together to help each other, the sum of the whole is greater than its parts. We have all had mentors that have helped and inspired us. Having the chance to help another perpetuates this wonderful cycle. It is also a great way to interact with new social circles, expand your network and has the potential to lead to new referrals and clients.

At first, this may sound counter-productive. Why should a photographer give away something that he does to earn a living? Because of the Law of Attraction. The energy that you put out into the world is the energy that will come back to you. The trick is to feel good about the giving!

But Proceed with Caution

Don’t give your heart away! From time to time, you will be asked to do things for free or at a lowered price. You may be asked to shoot pro bono in exchange for a credit in a magazine that ends up not materializing. Or a client may want you to donate a photo for free (without any restrictions) for a promotion.

Remember that you cannot expect others to have the same intentions as you do. But don’t let these situations make you jaded. Trust your intuition, be selective about who you help and learn from each situation. Your heart knows better than your head.

What We’ve Learned

Giving to others has deepened our respect for them and has created a stronger bond with our community. We feel the joy that our work brings to others and have built strong relationships with those whom we respect and admire. Each time we give to others, we learn more about ourselves and we often get unimaginable gifts in return. Occasionally, we get to see someone else “pay it forward.” That is a great gift in itself.

Chris Winton-Stahle is an award-winning photographer and accomplished photo illustration artist who sees the camera as only half of his process in creating great imagery. Chris often pulls components from multiple images and CGI when creating his work for clients in advertising, magazines and entertainment.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Copyright Office Roundtable Discussion on Orphan Works - 2014 Edition

Photo Business Forum - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 4:10pm
The United States Copyright Office brought together stakeholders from across the spectrum of intellectual property producers and consumers to discuss various ways to approach the issue of orphaned works during two days of roundtable discussions Monday March 10th and Tuesday March 11th, 2014, held at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Almost six years ago, we here at Photo Business News wrote Orphan Works Act = Thieves Charter? which delved into what the bills that were proposed to be law were espousing. We followed that up with Orphan Works - History In the Making, and we even wrote about the problems with the bills then, espousing the need for a solution to orphaned works, just not the one that was being proposed, in Orphan Works 2008 - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing. We even produced a piece titled Orphan Works - A Unique Set of "Myths" and "Facts" in an attempt to dispel some of the myths surrounding orphan works as proposed.

While the problem has not changed, the public and the stakeholders are much more engaged on the matter now, and the discourse seems to be taking a more reasoned approach. The Association of Research Libraries, for example, has changed their position from a call for orphan works legislation to an approach that utilities fair use. Here, they note "Unlike any option that will require legislative action, fair use is already the law...certain rightsholder groups are sufficiently fearful about misuse of their abandoned property that seemingly no search will be sufficiently diligent for them."

One thing is clear, this time around, the provisions of the bills that we will likely see in the next iteration will be better and more clear than what was in the 2008 bills. Below are a series of images from the roundtable discussions on the subject.
Over a hundred people came together to participate and listen to participate in a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Karyn Temple Claggett Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs listens to remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Eugene Mopsik, Executive Director of the American Society of Media Photographers, Left, makes remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization as Jeff Sedlik, CEO of the PLUS Coalition, right, looks on, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Jeff Sedlik, right, CEO of the PLUS Coalition makes remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Mickey Osterricher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association makes remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

(More photos, after the Jump)
Douglas Hill, right, managing partner of Rights Assist, makes remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization as Colin Rushing, General Counsel of Sound Exchange, looks on, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Rob Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practices, U.S. Copyright Office makes remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Nancy Wolff, right, counsel for the Picture Agency Council of America makes remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization as Mickey Osterricher left looks on, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Over a hundred people came together to participate and listen to participate in a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Eric Harbeson of the Society of American Archivists makes remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Karyn Temple Claggett Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs listens to remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

Maria Matthews, manager, Copyright & Government Affairs at Professional Photographers of America makes remarks to remarks during a roundtable discussion on Orphan Works/Mass Digitization as Charles Sanders of the Songwriters Guild of America looks on, Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The roundtable discussion, held over the course of two days, is being held by the US Copyright Office to gather insights for future legislative solutions to orphaned works. Photo: © 2014 John Harrington.

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Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.
Categories: Business

Getty Images Are Now Free For Online Editorial Use

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 11:08am

Last week news broke that Getty Images was making the majority of its collection available for editorial and acedemic embedding as long as they can append a footer at the bottom of the picture. The Verge reported that according to Craig Peters, a business development exec at Getty Images the ship sailed long ago as far as trying to prevent unauthorized use of their images online (story here) and their “content was everywhere already”.

Peter Krogh of The DAM Book has a different take on the situation. He speculates that the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm that has majority ownership of Getty is looking to cash out before a 1.2 billion dollar loan comes due in 2016 and given that Getty’s 2011 revenue was $900 million their profit is likely a small fraction of that and so they need to do something quickly to increase the value of the company.

Peter goes on to theorize that the whole embedding business is about gathering information which I agree can be more valuable than money to investors. You should read his entire post here: http://thedambook.com/getty-did-what

You only have to look the Facebook purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp or the stock price of Twitter to understand that users are more valuable than revenue. So I think Getty is going to get on the user bandwagon by allowing free use of their images. What’s crazy about everyone getting on the user bandwagon is they all have the same plan to make money in the end: advertising. I think some simple math will prove that adding up all the minutes spent on an application times the current ad rates does not equal the valuation all these companies supposedly have. Getty is very late to a game of chicken with companies that have a tiny fraction of the overhead. All signs point to a writedown for the Carlyle Group in 2016.

Categories: Business

Avoiding Donor Burnout

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 12:03am

[by Colleen Wainwright]

In my previous life as an actor, I was graphic designer of record for my theater company, handling every printed piece and web update for the four to eight shows per year that we produced. While I found the experience enormously gratifying in many ways (not least of which that it got me out of a lot of broom-pushing duty), its greatest gift to me was learning the chief criteria for taking on pro bono work.

Will I have adequate creative freedom? When you work for free, don’t work for committee. I had one person who signed off on my designs, and he was a man of great taste, keen insight, and professional demeanor. I got to have fun and do good work for my portfolio.

Will I have adequate resources? In a 99-seat theater, you work on shoestring budgets, but there’s plenty of cheerful, free labor available. I never had to fold my own programs! On the other hand, I did one ill-advised turn as a costumer, tasked with outfitting a large cast in period wear with a comically small budget. The show ended up looking great; I looked like hell warmed over.

Am I doing this out of love or duty? The occasional “duty” gig is almost unavoidable, but if I don’t either love the cause itself or know it will sharpen my skills in some needed area, I try to find some other way to be supportive. Sometimes it’s a less time-consuming, personally-involving kind of donation (broom-pushing!).

And sometimes it’s a loving referral to someone else. After all, the gig you decline may be someone else’s foothold.

Colleen Wainwright will be donating her expertise as a speaker at the upcoming CASE conference for higher education, a cause she very much believes in, on March 20th in Los Angeles.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Giving Back

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 12:01am

Paying it forward is a strong motivator for many of us. I’d be hard-pressed to find a photographer who has never been asked to donate their services and from what I can tell, more of us agree than say no.  This week, our contributors share their thoughts on giving back.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Monetizing Getty's 35M Image Archive via FREE Editorial Uses

Photo Business Forum - Fri, 03/07/2014 - 11:12pm
Much has been said about the decision by Getty Images to make available to editorial online outlets, over 35,000,000 images, for free. Well, free in the sense that you're not spending any money to use the images. However, in exchange for this, you agree to allow Getty to track all the visitors to your website. How many come, their IP addresses, how long they stay, and so on and so forth. Make no mistake about it either, this isn't "free forever", Getty is looking to get into the big-data business, connecting image viewer data with data analytics from other sources. Once they reach a critical mass of users, they will essentially be able to sell advertising alongside and beneath their images (note the big white space between their name and the social media links in all the samples everyone is sharing) and they can also sell animations, where before the image appears, an ad is displayed for a few seconds, just like the lead-in advertising on videos just like YouTube. The revenue from repeated views here is far and away greater than the few cents Getty makes from web page usage. Getty's big splash is akin to Steve Jobs keeping secret the iPhone and then getting hundreds of millions of dollars in free advertising to promote it when it launches.

Getty has made clear that their current contributor contracts allow for this, and that no compensation is due the rights holders of those images. These images are put forth as a part of a marketing effort, and so to that end, those who created the images are out of luck.

Getty has said that they are tired of suing their userbase, and creating angry factions of the online community like those at organizations like "Extortion Letter Info" where lawyers gather together to fight off Getty's demand letters.

Could there be something else that's a problem for Getty? In 2010 we reported on a copyright problem where the methodology used by Corbis, on the advice of lawyers, was found to be flawed, and countless registrations were deemed invalid (see: Corbis' Copyright Registrations - Images "Not Registered" Court Finds). Could it be that Getty does not want to face this same house of cards that could be stirring within their registrations? Could it be that all (or almost all) of their registrations are invalid? Or, perhaps Getty just doesn't bother to register their work, and as such, the teeth that people think they have are actually toothless and decaying gums that have no bite to follow up their bark?

A search of the US Copyright Office shows for a search of their database under "Getty Images" shows their last registration as 2008, specifically images related to the images of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's twins. Here's a listing from the Copyright Office as of March 7, 2014:

They have a total of 172 registrations. On the other hand, we here at Photo Business News register regularly, and a search of the Voyager database shows 229 records for our registrations alone. Consider the tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of images Getty produces worldwide each day, and receives from contributors, and unless there's some secret registration system they are employing, or they are doing it under a different name, then there's a bit of a problem for Getty in that they're not registering their work. That's a problem if that's the case. Oh, and the notion of a "database registration" doesn't really hold much water either when it comes to photographic registrations.

(Continued after the Jump)
So, if your copyright registrations have no teeth and thus you are not getting your day in court, and you're engaging in toothless fights with hundreds of infringements, why not allow people to use them and get analytics out of them?

The fact is that there are millions of images sitting dormant and otherwise generating no money on web pages, even when they're rights-managed images at a web resolution, someone forgets the image is there, forgets to renew, and so on and so forth. A royalty-free images, of which many many rights-managed images are competing against, generates a one-time fee of about $1.00. Then, that image sits there for months and years. Now, most every blogger wants good SEO, and they work hard to link-bait people into driving traffic, whether to sell ads, or generate noteriety. Now, you have thousands and even hundreds-of-thousands of bloggers generating millions and millions of pages using free Getty content. Once a critical mass is created, Getty will begin selling ads.

In addition, because it may well be that Getty doesn't have registrations for all the images that are being infringed, the removal of the iframe and copyright management information ("CMA") is a DMCA violation of upwards of $2,500 per infraction, that, wait for it, does not require a copyright registration to be awarded. So if someone strips out the iframe or copyright information from an image Getty can easily collect $2,500 or so per image. Have a look at this: 17 U.S. Code § 1202 - Integrity of copyright management information (a) False Copyright Management Information.— No person shall knowingly and with the intent to induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal infringement—

(1) provide copyright management information that is false, or (2) distribute or import for distribution copyright management information that is false.(b) Removal or Alteration of Copyright Management Information.— No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law— (1) intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information,

(2) distribute or import for distribution copyright management information knowing that the copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law, or

(3) distribute, import for distribution, or publicly perform works, copies of works, or phonorecords, knowing that copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law,knowing, or, with respect to civil remedies under section 1203, having reasonable grounds to know, that it will induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement of any right under this title. Now, that means that the removal of CMA allows the copyright owner access to civil court, and does not compel them to enter federal court, which, in turn, requires a valid registration certificate before you can have your day in court. Now, on to section 1203: 17 U.S. Code § 1203 - Civil remedies (a) Civil Actions.— Any person injured by a violation of section 1201 or 1202 may bring a civil action in an appropriate United States district court for such violation.(b) Powers of the Court.— In an action brought under subsection (a), the court—

(1) may grant temporary and permanent injunctions on such terms as it deems reasonable to prevent or restrain a violation, but in no event shall impose a prior restraint on free speech or the press protected under the 1st amendment to the Constitution;

(2) at any time while an action is pending, may order the impounding, on such terms as it deems reasonable, of any device or product that is in the custody or control of the alleged violator and that the court has reasonable cause to believe was involved in a violation;

(3) may award damages under subsection (c);

(4) in its discretion may allow the recovery of costs by or against any party other than the United States or an officer thereof;

(5) in its discretion may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party; and

(6) may, as part of a final judgment or decree finding a violation, order the remedial modification or the destruction of any device or product involved in the violation that is in the custody or control of the violator or has been impounded under paragraph (2).(c) Award of Damages.— (1) In general.— Except as otherwise provided in this title, a person committing a violation of section 1201 or 1202 is liable for either—

(A) the actual damages and any additional profits of the violator, as provided in paragraph (2), or

(B) statutory damages, as provided in paragraph (3).

(2) Actual damages.— The court shall award to the complaining party the actual damages suffered by the party as a result of the violation, and any profits of the violator that are attributable to the violation and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages, if the complaining party elects such damages at any time before final judgment is entered.

(3) Statutory damages.—

(A) At any time before final judgment is entered, a complaining party may elect to recover an award of statutory damages for each violation of section 1201 in the sum of not less than $200 or more than $2,500 per act of circumvention, device, product, component, offer, or performance of service, as the court considers just.

(B) At any time before final judgment is entered, a complaining party may elect to recover an award of statutory damages for each violation of section 1202 in the sum of not less than $2,500 or more than $25,000.

(4) Repeated violations.— In any case in which the injured party sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that a person has violated section 1201 or 1202 within 3 years after a final judgment was entered against the person for another such violation, the court may increase the award of damages up to triple the amount that would otherwise be awarded, as the court considers just. Well, Getty's 2011 contract outlines how they get to handle intellectual property claims: 1.11 Right to Control Claims. Getty Images shall have the right to determine, using its best commercial judgment, whether and to what extent to proceed against any third party for any unauthorized use of Accepted Content. You authorize Getty Images and Distributors at their expense the exclusive right to make, control, settle and defend any claims related to infringement of copyright in the Accepted Content and any associated intellectual property rights (“Claims”). You agree to provide reasonable cooperation to Getty Images and Distributors and not to unreasonably withhold or delay your cooperation in these Claims. Getty Images will not enter into any settlement that will compromise your ownership of the copyright in Accepted Content or that prohibits your future conduct with respect to Accepted Content without your prior written consent. Getty Images will pay you Royalties on any settlements it receives from Claims. If Getty Images elects not to pursue a Claim, you will have the right to pursue it. So now Getty gets to go after people who remove copyright management information, and collect on each of those in civil court. Faster and easier than federal court, and much cheaper.

Now, enter object recognition. A company like Stipple monetizes images with their own embedder that means that if I as a photographer take a photo of a celebrity wearing Prada boots, using a Gucci purse, and an Old Navy dress, provided I include that information as tagged in the image, I can generate revenue if someone clicks through from that image to a site like Amazon that would sell them, and I collect a few percentage points in revenue from each sale. A $400 purse could garner $4 - $8 in income from a single click/sale, so it encourages photographers to manually tag them. A company like Samsamia tags images using fashions semi-automatically. Other software automates object recognition so that no one needs to manually tag them - it's done automatically. If Getty controls the iframe where all this is happening, on hundreds of millions of images around the world, they could generate tenfold amounts of income.

As such, Getty has just co-opted the entire blogosphere as free distributors of their advertising vehicles. Getty's minions are now doing their bidding like the Wicked Witch of the West sent out her flying monkeys, yet the monkeys had to be fed. Getty's minions are doing all the work for less than peanuts. Consider that a magazine produces editorial content in order to generate readers who will view the paid advertising adjacent to it. It spends a great deal of money producing that content, and then charges advertisers. This upends that model, where the editorial content is being produced for free, in every known niche of interest globally, and Getty gets all the income from the ads and also a much broader audience for commercially viable images to consider.

This is why they're allowing the New York Times to use their content online for free, which at first blush seemed like a bad idea. But, in the end, they are essentially taking over the advertising that appears in the newspaper. They are not satisfied to take over the ads adjacent to the editorial content, they will now own the ads within the editorial content. You can't pay to get monetizable links within a New York Times editorial story - that's as sacrosanct as the space inside a baseball diamond to sports fans, even moreso. However, Getty, provided the NYT opts to use the images for free, has now given up control of the visual part of their editorial content, ceding it to Getty.

Imagine you're a Getty ad sales rep - and you can say "we can offer you an ad inside the New York Times' editorial space. In fact, it's even reasonable to assume that, say, the pharmaceutical CEO who testifies before Congress on a particularly polarizing point, and who could never dream of being able to immediately place adjacent to the article about his testimony, a rebuttal or company link for more information on the company's perspective, could now, within seconds of the story appearing, buy an ad that would appear below his photo, or as a 5 second preview before his photo appears, providing a rebuttal to the article. In fact, a company could buy such a rebuttal ad space wherever images from that testimony appears, worldwide. I even see a point where the Getty sales team sees news events of this nature on a schedule and makes initial outreach to the marketing departments for those companies, pre-selling ads to appear beneath or over the photos just like magazines put out a schedule of topics in the comping year so when the big travel issue comes out all the travel companies have already bought space in those issues. As such, I suspect, respected news outlets will not cede this space to Getty's free offering, unless they're getting a piece of it that equals or exceeds what they would get for the ads adjacent to the editorial content. The NYT may well continue to pay for their uses so as to keep their editorial pages within their control.

Everyone seems to see this as Getty's way to combat copyright abuse. This is a naive as a day old bambi. It makes Getty appear as if they are giving up, giving in, and supporting blogs and being helpful. They are not. They are positioning themselves as the world's largest advertising resource so that the Carlysle Group (NASDAQ:CG) , which owns Getty, can turn around and sell Getty to Google or Yahoo. The pitch is "this is the YouTube of still photography - free photos and revenue from wraparound and play-over ads...". Look at how Google snapped up YouTube for that reason. Free videos propagated globally and Getty just sits back and counts the validated eyeballs and collects all sorts of data about them. It's the same with still photos now. Further, As crazy as it sounds, when Carlysle bought Getty, they did it in fast-and-loose-80's-style leveraged-buyout fashion, using a loan secured by Getty's assets to buy Getty and made Getty responsible for paying the loan back. Getty doesn't have that kind of money sitting around, and they've got a $1,200,000,000 loan coming due in about 2 years.

So far, the contracts that Getty has with it's contributors allow them to do this as marketing, for free, without compensation to the contributors. And, just as with Getty monetizing the metadata of an image from Pinterest without being obligated to share that income with the photographers (because Getty's contracts don't require it because a metadata income stream isn't from an "image license") and from what I have heard, there are no plans for photographers to earn any part of the advertising that is adjacent to (or precedes the viewing of) their image. Getty's telling photographers "oh, this will drive people to our site and the commercial sales will give is a reach we haven't before." This sounds remarkably like "we'll loose a little on each use, buy make it up in volume."

The real losers will be the content producers - the photographers. Of course, Corbis and the rest of them will look at this and wait, and all the while Getty's images will get embedded deeper and deeper into the internet's archives and the rest of the stock agencies will be playing catchup. Considering that 20% of Getty's archives are generating about 80% of their income, this isn't a problem, monetizing the rest of the 80% sitting around, making them all a sort of homing pigeon. However, Getty's own internal valuations are at about $0.15 per image, so if a photographer with 100,000 images decided to pull out, the monetizers look at that and say "oh well, too bad for them, that's about a $1,500 loss for us. Moving on. Next."

Welcome to the new world order of stock photography.
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Categories: Business

Roger Fenton Crimean War

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 03/07/2014 - 10:10am

In the sixth grade, we did a project on the cultural traditions of a foreign country. We had to write reports in our chicken-scratch-children’s penmanship, and some kids cooked food as well. One Korean student brought in some Bul Go Gi, and it was delicious.

I ended up with Yugoslavia, about which I knew next to nothing. Fortunately, a family friend had started importing Yugos to the US, so at least I could talk about that.

A less-than-educated young person might reasonably ask, “What is Yugoslavia?” Or, rather, “Where is Yugoslavia?” Because it doesn’t exist on the map, I can assure you.

Most of us know, of course, that Yugoslavia was a created 20th Century entity, a post-war land mush that brought together some version of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and probably a few territories I’m neglecting. They’re still around, of course, as are the people who live there. But the country, the geo-political entity, is dead.

Similarly, I just read a piece in the New Yorker that was nominally about the television industry in Turkey. (Yes, I’ve officially become the kind of guy who references the New Yorker all the time.) I say nominally, because the real subject was the manner in which the Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is highlighting historical connections to the vast and powerful Ottoman Empire, rather than the small and relatively weak Turkish republic that was built, again post-war, by Ataturk.

Closer to home, I can tell you that here in New Mexico, there are certain people, whose ancestors have been here for generations, who resent the mass culture of the United States. You can occasionally feel tension in the air. Why? I might point to the fact that the US essentially annexed New Mexico. Or stole it, if you will. And that was only shortly after the land was called Mexico, having recently freed itself from the country called Spain.

What I’m trying to say here, if you haven’t caught the gist, is that history is all about the long view. Names change, but dirt doesn’t. (Unless it’s being violated to reach its mineral goodies, but that’s another rant for a different day.)

The big news, in our age, is that we are all hyper-aware of what is going on everywhere, all the time. That is a radical change to the way we live our lives. So big, in fact, that no one has had the chance to really process the results of the shift.

But we see the effects every day. Take Crimea, for instance. A week ago, that word might have been meaningless to you. (I say might, as I’m aware that this audience is highly educated and up-to-date.) Now everyone knows it as a territory in the country called Ukraine that was just invaded by a country called Russia.

Russia? We’ve all heard of that place. Except when I was young, it was called the Soviet Union, and included the country now (and formerly) known as Ukraine. Names change, but greed and aggressive behavior do not. They are, and I’d venture to say will always be, a part of human nature.

When we look at a globe, or a map, it seems so permanent. Built or plotted, the objects refer to information with a sense of certainty. This is here, that is there. If you go too far in one direction, you might fall off the face of the Earth. (Sorry, forgot that one has been debunked already.)

Of course, we know that the information encoded in maps changes all the time. They’re no more accurate than a restaurant menu from 10 years ago. That’s just the way it is.

We live these dramas in real time, and the pain, misery, and tragedy they engender are not to be made light of. I feel for the people who die in wars, or who die from lack of clean water, or who have to watch their family members killed by horrible forces of darkness that will never face retribution. (Until they do, one, two or three generations down the line.)

The point is, (should I actually have one,) that we’re now judging the news on a minute to minute basis, but the root causes of said “news” go back decades, centuries, or millennia. And that is the kind of information least served by Social Media. You couldn’t possibly know about the Taos revolt that killed Governor Charles Bent in 1847, just like I don’t know who ruled Crimea before the Soviets.

Sure, we have access to so much information via Google, but that’s not the same thing as genuine, lived, history. It’s just not.

So while I could easily mock the monster Putin, and put this all on him, it seems too simplistic. He is the unchallenged leader of a country that has long lived with strongmen, and has a history of territorial aggression. Anyone who was surprised by his behavior wasn’t paying attention.

How many non-Americans might point to the US invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent removal of Saddam Hussein? How many people might suggest the situations parallel? I couldn’t say, but I’m sure they’re out there. (And some of them probably work for the Russian propaganda agency.)

I can’t tell you who ruled Crimea in the 19th Century, and I can’t tell you how this latest crisis will play itself out. If I could, I’d be working for Obama by now.

But I can tell you that sometime in 2013, I had a unique experience in which I got to see, first-hand, what a shitstorm looked like in Crimea in the aforementioned 19th Century. How was that possible? (I bet you’ll guess it’s through the wonder of photography…)

In September, I paid a brief visit to the Prints and Photographs division at the Library of Congress. The Library actually functions like one, which is a bit of a shock. It’s free, and anyone can come in and personally request to “check out” work from the collection.

So I did.

I was handed a stack of plastic-protected prints by the famed, and perhaps brilliant photographer Roger Fenton. I’ve written of him previously, as he stole the show at the “War/Photography” exhibition I saw last year in Houston.

It was a rare pleasure to get to look at the pictures, to hold them in my hands, and connect visually and viscerally to a strange place in a time that had passed away into non-existence. Rare only because I live far from Washington, DC. If you live on the East Coast of the US, you could go often, and look at work not on the wall, but in your immediate physical space.

What did I learn about Crimea, or at least about a slice of the Crimean War?

Look at the collection of rebels, rapscallions, roughnecks, and killers. They obviously come from all over the world, as the costumes will attest. There are a lot of dirty faces, scruffy beards, and hardened tough guys. My goodness.

We can see it’s a desolate place, or was. And we can guess that any conflict with that many warring parties must be messy, confusing, and dangerous. Why would they all be there, fighting? My first guess would be that there’s something of value? Natural resources, maybe? Oil?

Or just as likely, it probably has a geographical significance. Control of a major body of water? Access to a port, or a military high ground? Maybe some or all of these things, as you wouldn’t get a global crusade of treasure-loving-war mongers fighting against each other in a god-forsaken land for nothing.

That’s the lesson we can learn, when we engage with history. Our troubles and triumphs are not as unique as we’d like to believe. Occasionally, I admit I’ll get caught up in the moment. The Arab Spring was such a time.

The optimism blinded me to the reality: Men with guns rule the day. They always have, and they always will. The best we can achieve is a society where the rule of law dictates who gets to use the guns, and when. We have that here in America, and I get to live in peace. (For which I am extremely grateful.)

But we too have been an imperial power, and unspeakable evil has been committed in our name. In the name of Freedom.

So let’s all hope that this latest international crisis ends swiftly, and well. Let’s hope the people of Crimea can go back to a more peaceful existence, and that the Russian tanks roll back to Moscow.

But I won’t be holding my breath. That’s for sure.

Calvary camp, looking towards Kadikoi

Calvary camp, looking towards Kadikoi

Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Burghersh, C.B.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Burghersh, C.B.

General Cissé, chief of the staff to General Bosquet, & aide-de-camp

General Cissé, chief of the staff to General Bosquet, & aide-de-camp

Colonel Doherty, officers & men of the 13th Light Dragoons

Colonel Doherty, officers & men of the 13th Light Dragoons

Ismail Pacha on horseback, with Turkish officers

Ismail Pacha on horseback, with Turkish officers

Zoave and officer of the Saphis

Zoave and officer of the Saphis

Cornet Wilkin, 11th Hussars

Cornet Wilkin, 11th Hussars

Balaklava, from Guard's Hill

Balaklava, from Guard’s Hill

Lieutenant Yates, 11th Hussars

Lieutenant Yates, 11th Hussars

The valley of the shadow of death

The valley of the shadow of death

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Categories: Business

Worth Sharing

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 03/07/2014 - 12:01am

As you dive deeper into Social Media mastery, be sure to hone your creativity and innovation skills by joining us for the March Business as unUsual webinar next Wednesday:



Your Creative Vision
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
1:00 – 2:00 pm eastern / 10:00 – 11:00 pacific

Plus additional Q&A on ASMP’s Facebook page

In a world where everyone has a camera, still and motion photographers have to offer clients something they can’t do themselves. Nurturing your creativity and your unique vision is a vital part of building a viable creative business today. For over 20 years, Sean Kernan has been studying and teaching creativity. Our conversation will focus on how to foster your creativity, develop your unique vision and help your clients buy into the value of truly creative work.

Register Today!


Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Nothing Can Substitute Hard Work And Caring About Your Subject

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 10:48am

Nothing can substitute for hard work or, even more importantly, caring about one’s subject. Also, and this becomes probably more difficult as one ages and perhaps experiences less energy to be called upon when needed, one wants to try to be just a little bit better today than yesterday or last week, or last year.  It’s not one’s peers one needs to think about in terms of improving, it’s simply trying to be a little better than one was or has been. It’s not easy and it’s not in anyway guaranteed to happen. But it’s a goal one needs to pursue. It’s really competing with one’s self and being honest, to know if the work is up to par or maybe not.

via reFramed: In conversation with photographer William Albert Allard – Framework – Los Angeles Times.

Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Topher Cox

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 10:23am

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Creative Director: I nominate Topher Cox. His book pretty much speaks for itself.

Mike Stoddard.  Rodeo series

Mike Stoddard. Rodeo series

Personal work

Personal work

Philips Healthcare.  All actors

Philips Healthcare. All actors

Alex S.

Alex S.

Cut Flowers

Cut Flowers

Black Angels Project

Black Angels Project

Charlie Vagabond, Skater, Travler

Charlie Vagabond, Skater, Travler

Philips Healthcare, All Actors

Philips Healthcare, All Actors

Philips Healthcare, All Actors

Philips Healthcare, All Actors

Playball Foundation, MMB

Playball Foundation, MMB

Wilnor Tereau, Haitian Footballer

Wilnor Tereau, Haitian Footballer

Welder, Maine, Bangor Savings Bank

Welder, Maine, Bangor Savings Bank

Cybex International

Cybex International

Bombay Beach, CA.  Post shoot walkabout.  If you have not been there yet you must go now before it is gone!!!!

Bombay Beach, CA. Post shoot walkabout. If you have not been there yet you must go now before it is gone!!!!

How many years have you been in business?

When did I start. Hmmm, hard to say. I would say it has been a good 7 years now. Before that I was a freelance photo assistant, which is a whole business in itself. Shooting for your self while helping others out. That got me ready to break out on my own. It taught me a thing or two… or three.

My folks told me I was helping at my dad’s studio before I could walk.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I took a couple of classes (thank you Mr. Simon, TR and Doc), but I guess you could say I am mostly self-taught. I grew up in the photography business. My father was a photographer and my mother was the art director at Cosmopolitan Magazine. So my nursery was my father’s studio, and then when I got a bit older I would go to my mom’s office and play with my toys on the floor as my mother and Helen Gurley Brown would be looking at slides on the light box above me. I would go hang out on shoots all the time as a kid. I would watch and learn. That was my school. Not only how to shoot, but how to work with people.

I went to school and studied Psychology at Syracuse University. During the summers I would work as a photo assistant, studio aide, and stylist assistant. It was a great way to see the business from all sides. After graduation I busted my ass as a photo assistant for a long time. I went all over the world carrying camera bags and such. That’s an education!

One time I had a photo student ask me a bunch of things about the strobes and ratios, f stops etc. Sure, I know all that, but I told him, “brother, when it is too dark I turn them up, and when it is too bright I turn them down”. I think education is really important, but owning what you know and putting it to use is what is really important.

I did a short stint working at MTV. That taught me a lot about making budgets, the corporate life, and being in a cubicle for 8 hours a day.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

As I said previously, I grew up in it. It was kind of the family business it is the business I know. I still had to make my way up the ladder. No one handed anything to me.

So I wouldn’t say it was any one person, it was all the photographers I knew as a kid. I loved what they did.
Funny thing is that when I told a bunch of them that I was going to be a photographer they all suggested I do otherwise. They told me the photo days of the 80′s and 90′s were long gone. It is true, but it is whole new era….an exciting one.
I love to keep it simple. I have always loved the work of Richard Avedon, Paolo Roversi, Bruce Weber, and Irving Penn.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

One thing I love is the opportunities of the digital era and how technology is constantly changing and improving things. I can shoot stills for a client and shoot video at the same time. That way their stills and video match in style and vision exactly. They love it, I love it. I get to see my photos come to life in video.

You have to look around you all the time, see what is out there, look online, look in magazines, see what you love and try to bring it to your vision. Make it your own. Growing up in NYC everything was constantly changing, I think you have to do that with yourself. Reinvent yourself all the time, but keep your true self in there.

One thing about photography is that it takes you to places that you would otherwise never go and meet people you would never meet. I find that to be so inspiring. Every model or subject has a story, every place has something new to offer. I find inspiration there.

Photography has taken me all over the world. It has shown me so many things and opened so many doors.
If I go somewhere on location for work I make sure to get up early and stay up late to wander around. I am lucky to be there, and I find inspiration from what is around me at all times.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

My job is to take what the client and creatives want, and translate that into my photography. I have to bring all that info and pull it down to a moment in time that may last 1/1000th of a second. That is my job. “Hold me back”, no, I want to give them what they want. I want to make them happy. Making them happy inspires me. If you feel they are holding you back I feel you have to rethink what you are doing. Sure, this is art, this is vision, this is a piece of you…..but this is also work and a job. And your (my) job is to give them what they want….and maybe show them something they didn’t know they wanted. You can always do it both ways, your way, and their way. Then they can look to see what they like best. I did that for a big client of mine. I would shoot the way they wanted and then I would shoot the way I wanted. In the end, they liked my vision more. Now when you look at all their photography it is in my style. That didn’t happen over night, but over time they changed and reinvented their image. If you really get frustrated, then do some work on the side for yourself….which you should be doing anyway.
I hear about photographers who are difficult to work with or get mad at everyone on set. What is that!? We are so lucky to do what we love for a living. We should get down and kiss the ground every day to be thankful. Hold me back, ha, I should be throwing rose petals at their feet as they walk into their office everyday for giving me the opportunity to live like I do. Right now I am sitting in my sun filled studio next to my sleeping dog while my kids are healthy and happy at school and my wife is at work….I have nothing to complain about. My work gave me this….and my clients gave me this.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

The internet is an amazing thing. You can show your work to folks all the time. You can show them things in bits and pieces. Over time they will remember you.
I hated carrying my portfolios around from place to place. I would pick them up and realize that no one had even opened them up. That sucks….BUT, you have to keep picking yourself up and keep going. Some will give up and some will make it.
AND….I have an agent:-) She is great at getting my work out there. It really helps to have someone give you a kick in the ass too when you are feeling down. She knows the ins and outs of how things work.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

OK, Here is where I am supposed to say “be true to yourself”, right?. Yes, be true to yourself. Make your style. Refine that style. Show that style.

BUT… remember there is A LOT of money riding on these shoots. There is so much time put into them before you even came into the project. Clients are quick to move on if they don’t like the work. There are a lot of other options out there. SO, they also have to see that you can do what THEY need.

I had a client tell me the other day that last year was their best year in sales ever and that it had a lot to do with my photos. Holy crap! How happy did that make me feel! That is also a lot of pressure. Better sales mean that they can keep all their workers and stay open. All those workers can keep their jobs and feed their families. Not only here where they make the product, but also all over the world where the parts are made or the metal is …wait…how do they make metal?
Anyway you get the idea. You have to show yourself in the work, but that work also has to work for them.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Of course. I love to shoot. The money is the bonus. With digital there should not be anything holding you back from shooting everyday. There was a time when I had my fridge stocked with film. I was limited by choosing to eat or processing my film. Now, you can shoot, shoot, shoot.
It doesn’t have to be a big production. You can keep your camera next to your bed and shoot before your feet hit the floor if that is your thing. But it is fun to put something all together and see it come to life.

How often are you shooting new work?

All the time. And even that isn’t enough. Shoot to live, Live to shoot.
If It is not on a CF card yet, it is in my head. Sleeping can be difficult at times because you are thinking about what you want to shoot and how you are going to make that happen.


Topher Cox grew up in New York and now lives outside of Boston. No longer a huge rock star in Japan, he lives in a house with a white picket fence with his wife, two kids, and a dog. No minivan yet.

They all get back to NYC often for work, friends, and family.

Topher is represented by Katherine Hennessy at www.kate-company.com.
His work can be seen there and on his website www.tophercox.com

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

My Go-To Social Media Resources

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 12:01am

[by Rosh Sillars]

How do the experts keep up-to-date on all the changes in social media and digital marketing? It seems like the industry changes on a weekly basis.  Below is a list of blogs and podcasts I depend on to keep me in the know:

Twist Image Blog and Podcast: Mitch Joel makes me think. Mitch asks valuable and insightful questions of his guests.  The blog is full of topics and ideas that make me look at the marketing world from new angles.

Marketing Over Coffee: Christopher S. Penn and John Wall are on top of what is going on in digital marketing and social media. Their weekly podcast keeps me in touch with what might be the next big thing. More importantly the conversations between Chris and John give context and offer new ways of looking at marketing ideas and concepts.

Copyblogger: If you are going to engage in social media, you need to know how to write.  Copyblogger is full of excellent information on blogging, how to be a better blogger and create great content.

Social Media Examiner: This blog has become a standard go-to blog for many people interested in social media.  With multiple authors and posts per day, the team is on top of industry news, ideas and information.

Don’t stop here. There are thousands of blogs and podcasts offering valuable information to the general public as well as for specific niche industries.  You will find an excellent updated list of marketing blogs on adage.com’s  power 150 list.

Rosh Sillars is a photographer, author, university instructor and marketing consultant. Listen to his podcast at www.roshsillars.com (or on iTunes).

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Failure Must Become An Essential Part Of All Our Work

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 11:00am

there are very few photographers who are so securely established that they can afford not to experiment in order to adapt to the new rules

failure must become an essential part of all our work; if you’re not failing it means you’re working in a comfort zone and as the visual world changes at breakneck speed, to live in a comfort zone is itself a failure! However, don’t bet the ranch on any single experiment: try many things and be prepared to fail often but in little ways

via Photo Expert Stephen Mayes on the Changing Future of Photography.

Categories: Business

Pick Social Media Platforms that Fit Your Style and Goals

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 12:01am

[by Gail Mooney]

It’s a noisy world out there.  Lots of folks are talking…..everywhere.  So, what’s the best way to be heard?  Like any other form of communication you should first determine who you want to reach and what you want to say.

Social media platforms can be used strategically for business or for personal reasons like letting your family and friends know what you’ve been up to – or both. I have been primarily posting on Facebook and LinkedIn with a little time spent “tweeting”, but recently I became interested in Pinterest when I started following Melanie Duncan and purchased her course on “The Power of Pinning”.

Pinterest is a phenomenal social media platform, especially when used strategically for retail oriented businesses or when you want to reach the female gender.  When I carved out a niche of my photo/video business that focused less on business to business and more on consumer direct, I decided to learn more about Pinterest and use it to target that demographic.

Pinterest tips:

Make it visual.  Use photos, especially vertical photos because they will take up more column space and stand out.

Create ads.  Think of your posts on Pinterest as ads – in fact “ads” are more acceptable on Pinterest than they are on other social media platforms. You can even add pricing.

Add links.  Always add a link (to your website) on your Pinterest content – even when you comment on someone else’s pins.

Make it sticky – Inspire people.  Create a pin that others will want to re-pin and share. Make it go viral.

Create a Pinterest “business” account.  I have two Pinterest accounts – one is personal and one is for my business.  Just like on Facebook, where I have a personal account as well as a business “fan page”, I have two Pinterest accounts.   While I use them differently, I can also share pins across my accounts to build up my followers.

Create a “pin it” button.  Have a “pin it” button on your website as well as on your other social media pages.

Follow and engage with the right people.  If you cater to the wedding market, then follow folks who are interested in that demographic.  Research is key.

Gail Mooney is co-partner of Kelly/Mooney Productions, a media production company based in the NYC metro area.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry