Intellectual Copyright – What is considered ‘stealing’?

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get used to it...guestographers are here to stay!

Man, oh man. The battle is raging over on this post from last week where I brought up the topic of other cameras at sessions and events you have been paid to photograph. One of the main themes of the comments has been the fact that I used the word ‘stealing’ when describing other photographers shooting over your shoulder at weddings. First, I have to apologize and acknowledge that some readers might be new to reading my posts and not be familiar with my voice. When you get to know me, you’ll get to know my larger than life, sarcastic writing style. But it has brought up an important topic for us to explore: when talking about intellectual property, where do we draw the line? What is considered stealing?

Let’s start with a word many of us will know: plagiarism. When I was in university, it was very clear that plagiarism would not be tolerated. The professors claimed to have a computer that they could pop your paper into and it would scan the WWW and tell them if we stole our text or bought it on a website. But even more scary was the fact that even repeating an idea that wasn’t originally our own, without citing the source, was considered plagiarism. So there we have it…it’s generally accepted by the intellectual powers that be that you can, in fact, ‘steal’ an idea.

Plenty of court cases have been won on this bases. Riffs of music that sneak their way into a chart topping song, concepts for a film stolen from their mastermind and made into a movie. Plenty of things that only exists in the realms of intellect can be ‘stolen’. With the invention of computer programs for editing our photography, there’s a whole new world of things that people can claim they invented. Which begs the question: can a Lightroom preset be protected by copyright? Can it be stolen? How about camera settings? Can I say “I own f/5.6, 1/250th, ISO 200 and you better not use it!” Certainly not!

Back to the post from last week…it was said that readers should make a mental note to never hire me based on what I’d written. Which, I have to say, is hurtful. I feel that many readers didn’t understand what I was saying. I did a wedding on Saturday (as all those comments were rolling in) and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with all of the guestographers. We did a group shot from the balcony and I had all of the guests pick up their camera and take a picture of me which was fun. I won’t say that it didn’t upset me that I couldn’t get a shot of the bride walking up or down the aisle without someone leaning out into the aisle with their camera, obstructing my shot. But I made the most of it and in the end, the images are a great representation of what the day actually felt like and, hey…there were lots of cameras. These days, we’d better get used to it.

But I do have an example of when I feel it would have been inappropriate for a guest to ‘steal’ my idea. I brought my little heart chalk boards so that guests could write the couple a message to be included in their album. This was a surprise for the couple. I allowed guests waiting in the reception line to step out of line for a shot with the message boards. Now, this was completely my idea. I’m absolutely certain it’s been done before, but I haven’t personally seen it. I didn’t notice any cameras in my space while I was doing this, but I would not be happy if someone was behind me shooting my idea and then posting it on the couple’s FB wall, ruining my surprise to them. This is a time when I am absolutely certain that coming in behind me, shooting over my shoulder, would have felt a whole lot like plagiarism and, yes, even ‘stealing’.

In short, anything taking place in public at a wedding is pretty much free for anyone to come in with their camera. But what I can’t allow (and what I was talking about in my previous post) is the shots that are meant to be happening in private or are clearly the brainchild of the photographer. To flip it on its head, it works the same way around…if a guest sets up a shot, we shouldn’t be stealing their thunder either. In short, the best way to keep these things private is to do them in private. I didn’t think of it before, but the next time I try the chalkboard messages, I’ll just take it around the corner where no one will be shooting over my shoulder.

Thank you to all of our lovely dPS readers. I started my photographic education here and feel really honoured to have a voice as a contributor now, just a couple years later. Thank you, thank you!

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Elizabeth Halford is a Hampshire Photographer and keeps a rockin' photography blog where she writes about photography and business in "real.plain.english".

  • @rd

    I’ll reiterate what I said to Adam:

    “Did you completely miss the point where I said that cars can and are put on display? Why would a car be put on display? Is it not because they have some sort of artistic merit?”

    I am actually a car fan. I had pictures of cars on my bedroom walls as a boy. I have been to dozens of cars shows. I have exhibited my own cars at car shows. I have taken hundreds of photos of cars. I helped my granddad work on cars when I was young, And I am a fully qualified and experienced motor vehicle technician, not just a “fitter”. So I have spent a huge part of my life around cars.

    So I can and do appreciate art when it’s applied to cars, but there is no denying that a car is still a tool to get you from A to B. Some just do it better (and with more style) than others.

  • Nicole

    Just this Saturday I attended a wedding where I was the
    guestographer. I was so glad I read comments back a few months ago about Photographers of weddings getting upset with guests intruding in on their shots. I wanted to make sure I was clear of their photographer. i missed out on taking some shots I would have love to have had but I am glad I did. i wish all guests could be aware of the paid photographer and pay attention to where they are and what they are doing at all times. I will say this though. At the wedding this Saturday, I noticed there wasnt a photographer taking shots from the back of the isle looking up toward the bride and groom. I snuck to the back row and took some shots. Come to find out, the second photographer got locked out of the sanctuary and wasnt able to take the shots!! The bride has my shots now, of which she is eternally greatful. i am not as good as the paid photographer, but i am glad I was brave enough to step out and take the shots.

  • 4msetr

    This is a confusing topic for me in relation to photography. much is written in here about intellectual property and copywriting. Ad to that registration, Patient, Certificating, and then Fair Use.
    I understand that if you go to a State or National Park and take pictures there in, you have to pay the appropriate agency a royalty or flat fee to publish or make an income from such pictures. Some events sell the rights to commercial photographers to take pictures of their events and all others are disallowed (AKC does in many larger dog events. only P&S cameras allowed and none in staged areas). And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo’s are a no-no to photograph. I could go into more here, but I would like to hear from others in another topic page/blog post on this subject; especially in protecting ones rights and where the line is crossed per intellectual property and fair use. I’m just getting into this but had put pic’s up on Webshot long ago and ten of them wound up in calendars and others now own the rights to them. Yup, I’m learning the hard way. Hope this is understandable, and if not just shows how confusing all this is.

  • 4msetr

    I’ll add one more thing, a link to copyright, trademark, patients….Chilling Effects: http://chillingeffects.org/copyright/ Youtube is coming down on subscribers using copyright work. Where is he line?

  • David

    Frankly, I reckon you are being a bit up yourself. You seem to forget that you are at the wedding being very well paid to take photos.

    So, they are not your photos – they belong to the people paying your wage, and if they permit their friends and relatives to take photos as well as you that is their choice.

    You sound like a spoilt kid who is reckoning that because it was your idea to have ice-cream no one else is allowed to have any. I would suggest you grow up, take the photos you get paid to take, and let others at the wedding do what they wish to.

  • I’m an aspiring photographer, not quite professional yet, but very recently I started to shoot a few gigs that my girlfriend was playing at.

    One gig was a competition, where a professional had been hired. It was my first dealings with any kind of professional, but it was a good experience. I was mostly sat at our table on the side, which offered a great angle of the stage. During the night the pro moved around, including shooting behind me. At a few points he gestured for me to come over to try angles he had tried, which I thought was very thoguhtful, we even swapped lenses at one point. It never crossed my mind about “stealing images” but if it crossed his, I don’t think he minded, and was happy to offer help and tips to improve my technique 🙂

  • the perils of an on-line debate… I got up this morning to nearly 20 new comments !!

    over the issue of the cost of storage of data. My particular system is very scalable and I can add more hard drive space in as I need. currently my servers have just under 20TB of storage space.its a quite large computer system with several servers (including mirrors) all mounted in a cabinet with un-interruptible power supplies and air conditioning. (my sister has an identical system and I hold her off site images and she holds mine). It is an extremely professional set up with plenty of redundancy and plenty of security both (physical and integrity). Since I set up this system I have never had any data loss. Does anyone want to have a guess on how much it cost to set up this system? does anyone want to guess how much it costs to maintain this system? anyone want to guess at the running costs of this system? think luxury car (a European and remember we pay near $8 a gal for our fuel ).

    Could I have my data stored cheaper elsewhere? Probably. would I trust those on-line storage companies with my data? that will be big NO!!!!

    Its up to each individual photographer to decide on what works for you. a lot of that depends on the market place you are working in. to be fair, when some people contact me for a booking, when one of the first questions they ask is about cost inevitably I am out of their price range. If you are only going to charge £400 for your services then I can understand why you would think £100 for a DVD is expensive. But when clients pay between £1.800 and £2,500 for a set of wedding pictures, then £100 for a DVD is not unreasonable.

    Something that has come to mind too. thing about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Eric Schmidt and others like them. They are all very successful businessmen, all have made a lot of money in their respective field. All of them are generally described as “douchebags” Do they care what people think of them? unless they are directly involved in their day to day business life, I doubt it… So I will take a leaf out of their collective works and not care what a few small minded people think. My Business works for me and my clients. It gives me a good lifestyle. I can live with that, if you cant that’s your problem!

    Also, The photograph in the title of this story with all the guestographers. I have been looking at this images over and over. In its own rights it is an awesome photograph. It actually highlights the fact that the bride is the centre of attention and her image is sort after. It is a scene that I would consider staging at a wedding to be included in the album. Have I stole that image, No, Have I been inspired by it Yes. Stealing it would be pulling the image off the web and including it in my wedding brochures as the sort of shots I would take. That’s not going to happen. I may stage a similar shot then include that in my brochures. I would also credit the photograph with Elizabeth Halford as the creative inspiration for the shot.

  • william munoz

    This discussion on photographing weddings added one more reason why years ago I made the comment “I will photograph your funeral but not your wedding” The stress, tension etc of the principal people was to much for me to deal with, I did not have a therapy degree. What these posts have made me realize is just how far away from the reason for marriage we as a society have gotten. The ‘official ‘ photographer seems to only add to the stress and tension. If as a professional you feel the need to be the only one or have total control then make it part of the contract and have the bride announce to all to holster their cameras until the pro is done. Oh wait that would be rude…well if you go to a wedding and have negative thoughts about the others in attendance you are creating a negative atmosphere in a setting that should be positive and loving. This calls in to question just why are you doing this? Don’t tell me to make people happy…when you have a bad attitude you can not make others happy.

    Being a wedding photographer or any other type of photographer is not an intellectual property. the image I take is copyrightable and if abused I will pursue but I find inspiration from others work and hope my work inspires others.

    The technology today has made it easy to take a good picture…taking a great one is the challenge (oh and marketing them!) You and complain about the fact that everyone can take a good picture or just get on with being creative and take a great one. After 35 years in the business I know for certain that I have a lot to learn and some times that comes from unexpected sources. I have recently been inspired by what I am seeing produced by some high school students.

    What I have most felt over the years is that in my work what my intention was when taking it will go a long way to making it art or not. If I am positive during the shoot I have a good chance of getting something great… think about what negative thoughts bring…..

  • I do photo/journalist work for an online aviation magazine. A couple of weeks ago, I was at an air show where someone else was doing some photography. He had a very attractive model with him who was posing in front of a lot of the display aircraft. It was tempting to take some pictures of the hot model, but then the question of stealing his shots came up in my mind, so I didn’t do it. What is your take on that?

  • @Andy Mills

    @Adam

    “There is a very thin line between pride and ego. Very. Thin.”

    Is there? Do you not have pride in your own work? Do you not go home thinking you’ve done a good job? Would you call someone egotistical because they spend time making sure an RJ45 network cable was routed properly and tidily?

    “Um, I think you’d have some industrial designers take you to tasks for you assertion that a car design is not art, that it is simply a “tool”. Still the analogy fits, insert whatever product you want, does the manufacturer dictate what you can and can’t do with it? Sometimes they try and most consider it wrong.”

    Did you completely miss the point where I said that cars can and are put on display? Why would a car be put on display? Is it not because they have some sort of artistic merit? You have completely and conveniently ignored the point I was making there and picked up on a very weak pedantic issue.

    You misted my point. I certainly take pride in my work and I try very hard to teach my kids to take pride in their work, even if it’s doing something as mundane as the dishes. But again there is a thin line between and a big difference between taking pride in what you do, even being proud of yourself, and being an egotistical douchebag who thinks that because you do something well people should bow at your feet.

    My son’s baseball team is undefeated this season (going into playoffs in a week). He’s on a great team, with a great coach and it’s really awesome to see him doing so well. This season was the first time he pitched and he struck every batter out, not a single run was had on his watch the first game he pitched. Boy did his team love him, boy did his mom and I tell him “good job” and take him out for burgers and ice cream that night in celebration of his good work (well that and he took a baseball to the side of his head – good thing he was wearing a helmet). We called Grandma and Grandpa to tell them, we told everyone we saw what a great job he did. We were proud of him and he was proud of himself.

    Do you think though that it would have been ok for him to go around saying “I’m the best pitcher in the world”, or to look down on his fellow teammates or players on other teams? Do you think it would have been ok for him to deny his fellow teammates the opportunity to pitch because he did so well? No, certainly not. I had to remind him once that he needed to practice humility, in-spite of his victory. I think I felt more pride when, after burgers and ice cream, we were in the store and I heard him say “good game” to a kid from the other team who they just beat (by a huge margin).

    So yes there is a thin line between taking pride in what you do and being a jerk who’s full of himself/herself. Just because that line exists does not preclude you or me from taking pride in what we do, just that we need to make sure we practice humility.

    As far as the car anthology, on the one hand you dismissed cars as art, on the other hand you say it is art. What am I to do when your being so bipolar? Sure cars are tools, my Leatherman is a tool but I still marvel at the industrial design, the art of it.

    The point remains that while you tout needing to maintain “creative control” over your pictures, the argument is a facility. If you plan to give the clients pictures at all (even prints) how are you going to stop them from modifying the pictures. I can’t remember but several people said they grant the client full non-commercial use of the images, so unless you bound them by contract (and even then) how will you maintain your “creative control” short of not giving clients pictures?

    Would it be right for Leatherman to dictate what I can and can’t do with my Surge? Would it be right for them [Leatherman] to claim ownership of everything that I used my Surge on? No it would not.

    I could put a bummer sticker on my CX9 that said something utterly offensive, vulgar, and rude and there would not be a damn thing Mazda could do about it. It would certainly offend people but would it ruin Mazda’s image? If I spray painted my CX9 pink would people think poorly of Mazda? Would Mazda be able to call me and demand their car back?

  • @Andy Mills

    You can make a backup copy for yourself, you can get away with saying that is “fair use”. Unless you have permission to do so (for example you have the copyright or license), then making a copy to give to someone else is illegal. Why do you think you have to sit through the warnings at the start of commercial DVDs?

    We have to sit through those warning because the MPAA is full of douchebags…

    Well, it depends on who you ask really. The RIAA and MPAA woudl certainly have you think it’s illegal. But it’s not. Now, a commercial DVD/CD/Etc. that has copy protection would in fact be illegal to copy under the DMCA even for backup since you’d have to circumvent the copy protection in order to copy it which under the DMCA is illegal.

    Short of the DMCA though it’s perfectly acceptable to make a copy of a CD, DVD whatever for a friend of family member, so long as you are not selling them for financial gain. Actually, I think you’d have to “lend” them the CD so and they could make a copy.

    And in case I’m speaking out of my ass: Section 1008 of the US Copyright Statute Reads:

    § 1008. Prohibition on certain infringement actions

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

    Source: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap10.html#1008

    Also: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jdlitman/papers/warstories.pdf

  • @Adam

    We are going round in circles again, and I can see it doing neither of us any good to continue. I can actually see both sides of the argument and have tried to explain why professional photographers do the things they do, and why they may charge what they do. Obviously different photographers do things differently on the day, and charge different amounts for different products and services they offer. If I were a wedding photographer, the way I would do things would probably actually be closer to your ideal, but it will still be done one what I need to do to survive and what my target market demands.

    I have tried to give explanations on things and I had hoped you would see the point I was trying to make from them, but it seems in some cases you found fault in them and missed the point I was trying to make.

    I still think you are wrong on some points you have made, (you are still entitled to your opinions whether they are right or wrong) but I’m not going to argue any further unless there’s something else crops up that I feel really needs to be answered, so I will stand back and let things go as they are.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  • @4msetr

    Not sure if you’ll get this since all my comments are suddenly “awaiting moderation” but here it goes

    This is a confusing topic for me in relation to photography. much is written in here about intellectual property and copywriting. Ad to that registration, Patient, Certificating, and then Fair Use.
    I understand that if you go to a State or National Park and take pictures there in, you have to pay the appropriate agency a royalty or flat fee to publish or make an income from such pictures. Some events sell the rights to commercial photographers to take pictures of their events and all others are disallowed (AKC does in many larger dog events. only P&S cameras allowed and none in staged areas). And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo’s are a no-no to photograph. I could go into more here, but I would like to hear from others in another topic page/blog post on this subject; especially in protecting ones rights and where the line is crossed per intellectual property and fair use. I’m just getting into this but had put pic’s up on Webshot long ago and ten of them wound up in calendars and others now own the rights to them. Yup, I’m learning the hard way. Hope this is understandable, and if not just shows how confusing all this is.

    Copyright, Patent, and Trademark are all different issues. They all generally fall under the umbrella of Intellectual Property though.

    I understand that if you go to a State or National Park and take pictures there in, you have to pay the appropriate agency a royalty or flat fee to publish or make an income from such pictures.

    This is ridiculous. State Parks are public property and therefore open game. The only thing I could find is parks requiring that you get permits, insurance, etc. if you plan on bringing in a full crew, setting up lighting, or need access to parts of the park that are not otherwise accessible to the public. You certainly don’t have to pay the State or Feds a royalty, you already do – it’s called taxes.

    Some events sell the rights to commercial photographers to take pictures of their events and all others are disallowed (AKC does in many larger dog events. only P&S cameras allowed and none in staged areas). And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo’s are a no-no to photograph.

    It’s perfectly legal to take pictures in any public place, or any place that is generally made open to the public. this includes, stores, malls, etc. “No photography” are only enforceable as a matter of trespassing not copyright. If you were taking pictures in a store, got caught, they (store owners, managers, PIC, etc.) could not compel you to delete any photos because under copyright law they are your property.

    See: http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm for more info

    Some venues, artists, etc. require that the photog sign over all, or some, rights to any image(s) that they take at the event. This is what it is and is up to the individual photog to decide about.

    And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo’s are a no-no to photograph.

    You can photograph signs, logos, etc. all you want. You can even sell pic of these. It’s all a matter of how your selling them, what your doing and if it infringes on the Trademark or not.

    but had put pic’s up on Webshot long ago and ten of them wound up in calendars and others now own the rights to them.

    Yes, most photo sharing Terms of Service (TOS) grant the site right to use any photos you upload. In fact I find it comical when a photog touts their need to maintain “creative control” all the while giving Yahoo and other companies exclusive, world wide, royalty free license to their work.

    See: http://boingboing.net/2011/05/12/all-your-pics-are-be.html

  • @Andy Mills

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    Agreed.

    And just so it’s clear I have no ill will towards you and wish you the best.

  • I can see why you would be upset…escpecially if the couple were to see their guests photos before they were to see your photos and appreciate the gesture and work you had put in to the heart chalkboard idea.

  • Teleman

    All I can say is that there are a million great wedding photographers out there all basically doing the same thing. Every possible angle, lighting scheme, cute prop…they’ve all been done a thousand times before. Unless you differentiate yourself with over the top customer service, you are reducing your work to a commodity. The client is always right. I always play by their rules. There are no stipulations placed on my participation as long as we can agree on a fair fee for what they want.

    By charging a flat rate, allowing the guests to shoot to their heart’s content, and giving all the files (except for a backup if they want) and copyrights to the client I take all of the stress out of it for them and for me. The client has fun, the guests have fun, I get great referrals and make a living. And you know what? I have fun too!

  • @Marty

    over the issue of the cost of storage of data. My particular system is very scalable and I can add more hard drive space in as I need. currently my servers have just under 20TB of storage space.its a quite large computer system with several servers (including mirrors) all mounted in a cabinet with un-interruptible power supplies and air conditioning. (my sister has an identical system and I hold her off site images and she holds mine). It is an extremely professional set up with plenty of redundancy and plenty of security both (physical and integrity).

    The question is would you have that kind of setup regardless of your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?

    I think you would. Most pros take the storage of their work seriously (or at least they should) and I can’t imagine a pro photog deleting any of their work for any reason. I still have files from video work I did years ago. Despite the grand description you gave storage is cheep, less than 8 cents per gigabyte (speaking in terms of the raw storage.

    I’m curious about two things – one, what kind of hardware are you using? Two – Why do you not trust on-line backup services?

  • Thanks for sharing this. Words of wisdom!

  • “The question is would you have that kind of setup regardless of your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?”

    to be really blunt about this, infering that I would hope my clients suffer a loss and have to come crawling back for their pics is really facetious remark and to be honest I am really offended by it.

    I would never “hope” that anyone suffer any misfortune to make money. That’s the job of a Lawyer.

    The computer system came first and its principle roll is to maintain the integrity of my data in a reliable way.A by product of that is that I can offer my clients many years later copies of any images I may have. Also, My photo archive is not just limited to weddings etc.. It has every image I have ever produced since my first 35mm SLR. Some of those photos are priceless to me and therefore I have spent thousands of pounds on securing those images from loss. If A client wishes to benefit from that then they are welcome to duplicates. But I will not do it for free.

    In the past, I have taken a break from photography and have worked in the IT industry. One of the things that really annoyed me about that line of work was the fact that people didn’t like to pay the going rate for a computer repair engineer. they could not see that the value in my work was the years of experience and thousands of pounds of training courses, the hours of keeping up with the latest technology. All that combined knowledge resulted in my ability to rapidly resolve peoples issues without a fresh install of whatever operating system they were using. People didn’t like the fact that a bill for £50 was for pressing a few buttons, even though they didn’t know the correct order to press those same buttons to resolve the issues themselves.

    since returning to pro photography, I have never had a client complain about the price of an additional print. and for the price range I work in, I doubt I ever will. On top of all that, I have never had a request for a replacement DVD, but I have had requests for duplicate photo albums, enlargements or individual prints. Never has the price been an issue and this has included clients who have had a DVD of all of the wedding pictures. Unless they have the same quality printer, paper inks and colour profiles as well as matching mounting card for the prints, they will never get the same quality of print I can produce and ultimately that is what they are paying for.

    you can hiss and spit and vent your distaste for my working practices, i dont care….

  • @Marty

    to be really blunt about this, infering that I would hope my clients suffer a loss and have to come crawling back for their pics is really facetious remark and to be honest I am really offended by it.

    Then you offend yourself. You said a few comments back, based on my disaster scenario, that you were more convinced that keeping client photos was a good thing in case the client suffered a disaster, they would come back to you and you could profit from it.

    Your words:

    In fact, you have just confirmed to me that retaining the originals could be very profitable and worth hanging on to.

    I almost made the ambulance chasing lawyer comparison but refrained…. Thanks for covering me on that.

    In any case you don’t seem to want to hear my point. You said that you’d have the storage system you have regardless of your photography work. Never mind that the client already paid you for the pictures… I’m simply postulating that it’s better business to not try to suck pennies out of your clients every chance you get. It seems to me that happy clients = more business for you.

    What’s a better scenario – customer calls, needs a duplicate (replacement or otherwise) of of the DVD with pics. You say you can get it to them in a week or so and they ask how much, you tell them not to worry about it.

    Or

    customer calls, needs a duplicate (replacement or otherwise) of of the DVD with pics. You say you can get it to them in a week or so and they ask how much, you tell 160 bucks.

    Sure they may not complain about paying as most people would (should…) probably expect to pay something. All I’m saying is from the standpoint of customers service, and your word of mouth referrals, what’s better?

  • @ Adam,

    yes, confirming that keeping the originals can (and has) been profitable and your arguments confirmed that there is a profit to be made, and I am in the business of making a profit. I am not registered as a charity.

    Never the less to say that I am rubbing my hands together waiting for someone to have some sort of disaster for me to profit is offensive. I doubt all the builders and builders merchants all over the American Midwest where those tornadoes struck were all jumping up and down in glee at all the profit that they would make on the backs of a lot of suffering. Are they going to deliver a wagon load of bricks and timber to Mr & Mrs smith for free?

    As I previously stated, In the event of a disaster, then the client will no doubt be insured and the insurance will be footing the bill and Mr Smith will be very pleased that he paid the premiums that the insurance companies have been holding him hostage for over the years. I also reserve the right to waver any fees if I see fit.

    And as far as not wanting to see your point, then your wrong. I do see your point and in your market place giving freebies away is something that may help your business. Go to Bond Street in London, and ask for a discount on a made to measure suit in a high end shop. will you get a discount? no… You wont even get a penny off the price tag. Why? because it will cheapen the brand image. it goes along with the “if you have to ask the price then you cant afford it” It is you who does not wish to accept that I will conduct my business my way as it works for me. I don’t need to change it. 90% of my work is from referrals and repeat custom, I make a comfortable living with plenty of free time to enjoy my life and not have to worry.

  • @Marty

    Well, I have noting more to say then what I’ve already said.

  • “Well, I have noting more to say then what I’ve already said.”

    One of the more sensible things you have said, but an apology for your offensive comments would have been nice !

  • “Short of the DMCA though it’s perfectly acceptable to make a copy of a CD, DVD whatever for a friend of family member, so long as you are not selling them for financial gain. Actually, I think you’d have to “lend” them the CD so and they could make a copy.”

    Things are slightly different here in the UK.

    from a legal point of view, when you buy a Music CD or a movie you are buying a licence to view or listen to the media contained within the media you have paid for on a device that the media you have bought is capable of playing in the format contained in the media. You can make a backup copy for archival purposes, but you may not lend or sell this backup to a third party.

    Technically, converting your music CD to your ipod is in breach of this. same as if you have bought a bluerey disk and you converted it to DVD again would be a format shift which is not allowed.

    Personally, if you buy a DVD or Music CD, you should be allowed to copy or format shift for personal use only.

    as for the other comment I have just read about someone snapping pictures of someone else’s model at an aviation event, The correct thing to do would be to ask the photographer if he minds and offer a donation towards the cost of the model. In a public place or at an event where there is no photographic restrictions, then you could snap away at someone else’s model and there is not a lot you they could do. there may be legal issues if you tried to use the images commercially without a model release being signed.

  • Adam

    @Marty

    Please point out the comments that were offensive.

  • Adam

    @Jim Pratt @Marty

    Regarding the aviation event:

    Where do you draw the line? It would be perfectly legal to take a picture of the model, you’d be well within your rights being in a place that’s open to the public and certainly the model had no expectation of privacy. You could have issues if you tried to use the models image to sell anything (put it on a bottle of shampoo) but other than that, legal, you’d have every right.

    Now would it be right? Well, I don’t think it would be. Certainly it would be better for you to ask permission from the other photog. Marty’s donation is a good idea… but where do you draw the line?

    Should you then make a donation to the owners of the planes? To the plane manufacturers? Or to the facility owner? After all if it was not for these people you’d have no planes to take pictures of.

  • @ adam

    “…… your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?”
    is the comment i find offensive and have said so several times.

    ” but where do you draw the line?”

    I don’t think its appropriate to give a donation to the plane owners. I would imagine that they are there to exhibit their planes as ether an advertisement for a builder/supplier of planes or privately owned planes maybe looking to sell the plane. Whatever their reason Its implied in the event name air SHOW….

    saying that, the last air show i attended, there was a helicopter from the air ambulance. They had collection bins to help pay the fuel bill which I donated to. There was also a plane from a group of sky divers who do tandem parachute jumps for the terminally ill. so a further donation was made there.

  • Adam

    @Marty

    @ adam
    “…… your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?”
    is the comment i find offensive and have said so several times.
    ” but where do you draw the line?”

    I don’t think its appropriate to give a donation to the plane owners. I would imagine that they are there to exhibit their planes as ether an advertisement for a builder/supplier of planes or privately owned planes maybe looking to sell the plane. Whatever their reason Its implied in the event name air SHOW….
    saying that, the last air show i attended, there was a helicopter from the air ambulance. They had collection bins to help pay the fuel bill which I donated to. There was also a plane from a group of sky divers who do tandem parachute jumps for the terminally ill. so a further donation was made there.

    I’m not sure why you find it offensive you said it. What you quoted from me is based off of what you said. You made the said several comments ago, in reference to my disaster scenario that:

    In fact, you have just confirmed to me that retaining the originals could be very profitable and worth hanging on to.

    You said it. I will not backpedal for you by apologizing for something you said.

  • Pete Marks

    I hope I am not ‘stealing’ what someone else has written but I am at a total loss to understand why a professional photographer who has been PAID to take the photographs should bitch about an amateur who has not been paid, taking shots of the same poses. Now if we were talking about the professional paying the models and for a studio then of course there would be a major issue if someone sneaked shots through a window or whatever although even in that circumstance unless the thief made images of such quality that he could sell them to a magazine I fail to see what the beef is.
    Yes I do understand how annoying it would be to have folk pushing infront of you to take their shots and if a dozen flashes all fired at once to ruin yours but life is like that. I am sure OTR 18 wheeler drivers get a little unhappy that THEIR route is clogged up with idiot amateur drivers meandering along the highways.but they too have to suck it up or get a different profession..

  • @ adam,

    no you twisted what I said, I don’t deny that It can be profitable to sell something to replace an item that has been destroyed by some misfortune. It is no different to any other business replacing any item that has been destroyed due to some unforeseen event and making a profit.

    I lost my CD and DVD collection about 20 years ago. It cost something like £12,000 to replace it. Some of the movies took a great deal of effort to get as they were “Limited Editions”. Some of them I paid a lot more for it second hand than I did when I bought my original. Did I expect paramount/Universal/MGM etc to replace them at no cost? no. did I think for one minute they hold back catalogues of movies so they could jump up and down in glee rubbing their hands together at all that lovely profit? no… Did I expect them to buy in and store limited editions knowing that they would be selling them later on for profit? Yes…

    Just because what I would value and charge for my services (and time) is a lot higher than you value your work (and time) does not make me a schadenfreude.

    To label me a schadenfreude is offensive and libellous.

  • If this has been said before, I apologize, I haven’t read all comments, but…

    You’re photographing a wedding and get upset because some of the guests take the same shots as you? My god, you need to gain some perspective. IMO, if those shots belong to anyone, it’s to the bride and groom who hired you. It’s their decision if they want to allow their guests to bring their cameras, which could mean that they’re leaning out into the aisle.

    Be generous towards others and you will recieve plenty in return, that’s a general motto in life for me. Have you never seen a great idea for a photo online or in a magazine and copied some part of it? Stealing? No, that’s how you develop in any field, get inspiration from others and try to do it yourself. Same thing with the wedding guests. By taking the same picture as you, they can hopefully learn a thing or two.

    And even if they don’t, you still get paid! You get paid to shoot, you didn’t pay for exclusive rights to shoot.

  • Adam

    @Marty

    I twisted nothing. You said what you said and now your backpedaling. I’m not going to argue with you about this. If what you said bothers you then I’d suggest that you ask the site admins to remove your comments.

    Your CD/DVD situation makes sense, in a way. And no I’d not expect the labels to give you the CDs back… it’s not really the same thing though.

    I have an OtterBox iPhone case and a few months ago a piece of the belt clip broke off that prevented be from using it as a stand. I don’t know when, or exactly how but I assuemd it was my fault it broke because of the way I take it on and off. Any way, I could not find just the belt clip on-line through OtterBox distributors, so I e-mailed OtterBox and asked them if I could order a replacement clip through them. In the e-mail I explained that I felt it was broken as a result of my actions, I don’t feel it was defective and I was not upset. About 24 hours later a rep e-mailed me back asking for my address so they could send me a replacement, no charge. I e-mailed them back with my address said that it was not necessary for them to not charge me and I’d me more than happy to pay for the cost of the clip and shipping… she e-mailed me back saying that the new clip was on it’s way.

    horrible way to do business right?

  • @adam.

    I think you need to understand something. If you say something that is perceived as offensive, then it was offensive. It makes no difference if you intended the comment or actions to be offensive. its all about how it is perceived.

    If you can’t see that you have twisted my words to your own ends then you either are a very stupid person or an intelligent person that loves an argument. I go with the second option.

    “Your CD/DVD situation makes sense, in a way. And no I’d not expect the labels to give you the CDs back… it’s not really the same thing though.”

    It is indeed the very same thing, you buy a CD or DVD, you are buying a limited licence to the media on the disks. therefore as you said it makes sense, you therefore agree that my pricing policy makes sense. (two can play at the twisting game)

    “I e-mailed them back with my address said that it was not necessary for them to not charge me and I’d me more than happy to pay for the cost of the clip and shipping… she e-mailed me back saying that the new clip was on it’s way.”

    Olfaciens masculus Bos primigenius stercus.

  • Adam

    @Marty

    It is indeed the very same thing, you buy a CD or DVD, you are buying a limited licence to the media on the disks. therefore as you said it makes sense, you therefore agree that my pricing policy makes sense. (two can play at the twisting game)

    Yeah your right. There is no difference between you losing a ~19 thousand dollar CD/DVD collection and your client losing a DVD that would cost you less than 50 cents to duplicate. How could I have made such a mistake.

    (I hate to do this because it spoils the fun but inflection is lacking in text so – the previous statement was said in a sarcastic tone)

    One would think that a dude sitting on 20TB of storage would back stuff up.

    Olfaciens masculus Bos primigenius stercus.

    Not sure what your saying here. It’s Latin but something is spelled wrong or something. Near as I could tell your saying what I said about OtterBox is bullshit. If that’s the case then I’ll tell you that a cursory search on Google will show you that this is standard business for them.

    What is your defect that prevents you from simply answering my question? Let me try it again, with another factual story.

    About a month or so ago a manager at my work broke their iPhone 4. Dropped it. Screen was shattered. I took it into the Apple store fully expecting to have to pay $200 to get a replacement. The rep. however told me that because the phone had no warranty history he could give me the replacement at no charge this one time. I walked out with a brand new iPhone 4 (well a refurb) without paying a dime.

    The idea here (and with OtterBox) is that if they (Apple, OtterBox, etc.) extend a courtesy to me (the customer) by replacing something in the way that they did they create customer loyalty. Beyond that I tell a lot of people about my experience which is free advertising for them (and the best kind – word of mouth). All it cost them was a part that cost them pennies to make.

    Horrible way to do business right?

  • @ adam,

    your right, I did call BS, not on otterbox, but on anyone who when offered a replacement free of charge would still offer to pay money. it may very well be true**, but I do smell the faint aroma of BS in the air.

    also, when you start to cite apple on ethics of business then I am afraid you loose all credibility. I have never dealt with otterbox, so I cant comment on them.

    The problem you have with companies that have very good customer services and are willing to replace products gratis even when they are out of service contract is that it WILL eventually be abused. Do you think that apple would replace EVERYONES broken iphone just because it has not previously been in for repair? I don’t think so, a few customers may have had the pleasure, particularly as it was not that long ago that apple were in the press due to reports that the screens on the iphone 4 were prone to shattering even from a slight impact. not when the company has a history of selling its customers a new and improved upgraded models when older products need such things as replacement batteries or a new Hard drive. Not from a company that refused to advise customers that there was in fact MALWARE on their OSX platform when the knew about it.. No Apple are not a company to cite over ethics.

    And to finally put an end to this once and for all. MOST of my customers are from word of mouth and repeat custom, who are also very happy at what I charge for my services. and as far as I am aware you are not one of my customers so my pricing policies are none of your business. Not only that, as you are not a pro photographer I don’t believe that you are in a position to make judgement on how I (or any other pro photographer) run my affairs (or my pricing policy). And take it that if you ever need a pro photographer for anything that you wont be contacting me? Oh well, I doubt I will loose any sleep.

    And that concludes this topic of conversation and I do not have any more I have to say to you on this matter, so I wouldn’t even waste the effort on trying to come up with a cleaver reply. Agree to disagree.

    ** the only time I believe that anyone would refuse a free replacement of a broken product is if there were attached conditions that you do not believe to be fair or reasonable. For example, if apple required you to deny that said iphone ever was broken in the first place.

  • Adam

    @Marty

    I never said I refused the free replacement. In fact the free replacement is hanging from my belt right now. I just extended a courtesy to OttherBox in saying that it was not necessary to replace it for free since I didn’t feel it was a product defect (that’s not necessary, but thank you).

    And yes, I agree it can be abused and that’s unfortunate. If a client of yours called every month for a replacement that would not be ok. It’s sad that you have such a pessimistic outlook on life though.

    I’m simply saying that for wedding pictures that a couple has already paid for, that’d you’d store regardless of your financial goals, that cost you less than 50 cents in materials, $160 seems a little steep. Originally (and I’m not now) I wasn’t arguing that you should give it to them for free, just that $160 seems a bit steep.

    I’m not going to get in a debate about Apple – it was simply an example of what I was trying to convey. That even in the extreme (i.e. replacements for free) companies can still not screw their customers over and be successful.

    Your right, I’m not a pro photog. Big shock since I’ve tried so hard to keep that a secret. Your so astute (sarcasm). I suppose in this sense my perspective is that of the consumer.

  • And there I Thought I have copyright on this problem, LoL nice article, thank you.

  • I think you are absolutely right. My rule at weddings, which does make a lot of the family mad, is everyone not in the formal and artistic shots is asked to step out or away while we finish up. For one it saves so much time not to have the added distraction. I also explain before hand to the wedding couple that it can really effect their shots if a lot of other flashes are going off. After all they are spending the money and should get the best they can. Love your idea with the messages though!!!

  • Matthew

    Elizabeth,

    Great article last week and again this, never mind some readers who take the wrong meaning it does takes all types to make the world go round! I have found humour and the joking to be the best aid in these situations.

    Along the same veing, an additional circumstance / issue you may wish to consider dealing with for the readers, happened to me this weekend. A competition involving hair styles is underway and I was asked to redo work done by someone I know, like and whose work I admire. I was rather shocked to hear how the client berated and belittled the poor guy. After doing the work, which I sincerely hope she now likes and will use, I did suggest that she in future rather have a direct conversation rather than leaving it to the tea room and discussion. A tog can perform best when expectations are clear and feedback personally delivered and immediate.

    Matt

  • I think the point that some people miss when it comes to wedding photography and guestographers is that some photographers attend the event prity much at cost price to them and they make the profit in the photographs they sell to the clients afterwards.

    consider the part where the bride is walked down the Isle by her farther. Its the perfect moment to get a picture showing all the details of the back of the dress and also of when the bride and groom turn to face each other. sometimes the groom will take a quick look to see his bride coming, or the best man will take a look and give the groom a quick whisper… there are at least 3 shots there that are important to include in the wedding album.

    then imagine that uncle Bobs wife pops her head out into the isle right at the point of the perfect shot and snaps of a few shots on her 8 year old 5mp digital compact, and from the other side of the isle Auntie Maude steps out into the isle with a reasonable quality bridge camera. your shot then looses all the impact & grandeur of the dress. Its half obscured from view by Aunt Maude and Uncle Bobs wife. Your photograph becomes worthless as the chances that the happy couple will be less than happy with the resulting photograph and not select it to be included in the album. Once this starts happening on a regular basis you may well have to consider supplementing your income from elsewhere or send your kids to a cheaper school.

    This wont affect everyone. there are a lot of photographers out there that will just shoot as many shots off as they can, dump the out of focus & chopped of heads shots and just throw the rest into an album. not particularly caring as they have charged a flat fee for the event and photograph album. And to be fair, most of the time the happy couple will remain happy because they can supplement the album with photos from the guestographers, and as they most likely have only paid a couple of hundred quid they will consider they have had value for money.

    I have been to many weddings where the wedding planner has requested that the guests photographs are only taken at set times through the event and that if possible remain seated during the service, requesting if they have to leave the room to do it from the sides. This is perfect for the pro photographer and I suspect the planner has had consultations with pro photographers in the past.

    Its all about the market you are working in and the expectations the clients have of your work. If the clients want good photographs then they will listen to the professional and if the professional has concerns over guestographers then they have a choice. choose another photographer who doesn’t care or act the advice.

    I would not say ban guestographers from the wedding. that’s not practical or fair. but you have to draw the line somewhere. and that’s entirely up to the photographer and client to decide where that line is drawn. If your position on where that line is is different to mine, it does not make your line or my line wrong. It just makes if different.

    Throughout this discussion have heard about several shot people have taken at a wedding and a few of them I will consider using myself. is that theft? no… in particular, if a I spot a guestographer that has a camera with a large LCD screen, I may consider asking them to hold the camera out at the happy couple while I shoot at the LCD screen with a narrow DOF and get the happy couple also in my shot. its a sort of modern version of the shot at the wing mirror of the wedding car showing the happy couple…

  • @Matthew,

    its amazing how many times this happens when one artist has to deal with another artist is involved in presenting his/her work.

    Hairdressers can be some of the biggest prima donnas on the planet…..

  • MikeyQ

    Great post, Lots of good points. I’ve been to a few weddings on the last couple of years, where the “official” photographer has disappeared with B&G Best man etc. These shots have remained unique and very special. I also see a growing tolerance between Guests and Photographer. Especially when it comes to the “typical” wedding shots . Photographer sets his scene, asks for a bit of space and everyone is made aware that they can have a go next.
    Guests need to understand that this is the Photographers living, and the B&G are expecting big things from him/her…so behave..
    Likewise, It’s a family occasion, the one time in years when they are all together.. I know how much I treasure some of the old grainy shots of family long past. (they were not in the Bridal party, so aren’t in official shots).

    My last small point is that I work for a company of Patent, Trademark Attorneys.. (i’m not one BTW). An you may or may not believe how complicated this subject will become.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Rose

    The last wedding I went to (a few years ago) the photographer took his wife with him – as part of the contract. She was the one who stood up at the front of the church (before the bride walked in) and asked everyone to turn flashes off, and not to use the aisle to take pictures. After the wedding itself all the guests were asked to remain in the church for 5-10 minutes (I’m not sure exactly how long we were there, probably a bit more) so the photographer could get the “main” shots of the bride and groom at this point the photographer’s wife pointed out some lovely places in the church for the guests to take photos of each other to “make a lovely surprise for the bride and groom”, it was also quite a handy chance for people to run off to the loo without worrying they were missing something! It worked out quite nicely since at that point the guests worked out that they needed to give the photographer some space and he got the really important shots (to the bride and groom) which is what counted.

    Oh, and at the reception the photographer was more than happy to let some ‘guestographers’ hang around with him, though he asked them to avoid using the flash if they were standing within a few metres of him to avoid ruining any professional photos – as he was so upfront about it and willing to chat to people as the event wound down everyone was very happy to follow the ‘rules’ and I think everyone had a happier time.

  • Stephanie

    Interesting thoughts in both articles and in the comments. I agree with with the author is saying in that I wouldn’t want someone to encroach on a job I was being paid to do either. Its one thing to have someone sneak a shot of the happy couple a the reception or even of the bridal party as you are switching out a memory card ect.. but to stand over your shoulder while you are trying to do the bridal party and family portraits (or worse step in front of the photographer and I’ve seen this done too) is too much. I had it printed in our bulletins at our wedding that guests were not to take photos during the ceremony and that they would have access to order photos from my photographer if they like. Mostly because I didn’t like the distractions or flashes going off (just my preference silly as it may have been). I think it also helped keep the guestographers a little less eager while we were doing portraits so our photographer could really focus on getting the shots. My sister just recently was married and did not have this request. Guestagraphers were so eager to get there shots that the actual paid photographer miss out on his work and we had to leave for the reception prior to the photos that were desired by the bride to be taken. Big bummer! A good part of this was due to the photographer not being a little more assertive in asking guest to not ask the entire bridal party to stay there for ” a couple more pics” and perhaps by not allowing enough time between ceremony and reception. But really, I think it is a fair request to ask that someone to not copying you in the moment at a photo shoot you were asked to do. Of course, everyone wants to be able to capture memories of such a happy day and celebrate with the b&G but If guest are overzealous in there desire to do so it can not just be rude but can also distract from getting the shots that the bride and groom want and have paid a pretty penny to get.
    @Ruth love the ideas that photographer did! Communicating expectation in positive and creative ways I’m sure really go a long way. I’m not sure I’ll ever photograph a wedding (stake are too high for an amateur like myself) But if I ever get to be good enough/ comfortable to do a wedding I hope I’m as creative and as assertive (in a good way) as that photographer.

Some Older Comments

  • Stephanie July 9, 2011 09:03 pm

    Interesting thoughts in both articles and in the comments. I agree with with the author is saying in that I wouldn't want someone to encroach on a job I was being paid to do either. Its one thing to have someone sneak a shot of the happy couple a the reception or even of the bridal party as you are switching out a memory card ect.. but to stand over your shoulder while you are trying to do the bridal party and family portraits (or worse step in front of the photographer and I've seen this done too) is too much. I had it printed in our bulletins at our wedding that guests were not to take photos during the ceremony and that they would have access to order photos from my photographer if they like. Mostly because I didn't like the distractions or flashes going off (just my preference silly as it may have been). I think it also helped keep the guestographers a little less eager while we were doing portraits so our photographer could really focus on getting the shots. My sister just recently was married and did not have this request. Guestagraphers were so eager to get there shots that the actual paid photographer miss out on his work and we had to leave for the reception prior to the photos that were desired by the bride to be taken. Big bummer! A good part of this was due to the photographer not being a little more assertive in asking guest to not ask the entire bridal party to stay there for " a couple more pics" and perhaps by not allowing enough time between ceremony and reception. But really, I think it is a fair request to ask that someone to not copying you in the moment at a photo shoot you were asked to do. Of course, everyone wants to be able to capture memories of such a happy day and celebrate with the b&G but If guest are overzealous in there desire to do so it can not just be rude but can also distract from getting the shots that the bride and groom want and have paid a pretty penny to get.
    @Ruth love the ideas that photographer did! Communicating expectation in positive and creative ways I'm sure really go a long way. I'm not sure I'll ever photograph a wedding (stake are too high for an amateur like myself) But if I ever get to be good enough/ comfortable to do a wedding I hope I'm as creative and as assertive (in a good way) as that photographer.

  • Rose June 7, 2011 06:03 pm

    The last wedding I went to (a few years ago) the photographer took his wife with him - as part of the contract. She was the one who stood up at the front of the church (before the bride walked in) and asked everyone to turn flashes off, and not to use the aisle to take pictures. After the wedding itself all the guests were asked to remain in the church for 5-10 minutes (I'm not sure exactly how long we were there, probably a bit more) so the photographer could get the "main" shots of the bride and groom at this point the photographer's wife pointed out some lovely places in the church for the guests to take photos of each other to "make a lovely surprise for the bride and groom", it was also quite a handy chance for people to run off to the loo without worrying they were missing something! It worked out quite nicely since at that point the guests worked out that they needed to give the photographer some space and he got the really important shots (to the bride and groom) which is what counted.

    Oh, and at the reception the photographer was more than happy to let some 'guestographers' hang around with him, though he asked them to avoid using the flash if they were standing within a few metres of him to avoid ruining any professional photos - as he was so upfront about it and willing to chat to people as the event wound down everyone was very happy to follow the 'rules' and I think everyone had a happier time.

  • MikeyQ June 2, 2011 06:32 am

    Great post, Lots of good points. I've been to a few weddings on the last couple of years, where the "official" photographer has disappeared with B&G Best man etc. These shots have remained unique and very special. I also see a growing tolerance between Guests and Photographer. Especially when it comes to the "typical" wedding shots . Photographer sets his scene, asks for a bit of space and everyone is made aware that they can have a go next.
    Guests need to understand that this is the Photographers living, and the B&G are expecting big things from him/her...so behave..
    Likewise, It's a family occasion, the one time in years when they are all together.. I know how much I treasure some of the old grainy shots of family long past. (they were not in the Bridal party, so aren't in official shots).

    My last small point is that I work for a company of Patent, Trademark Attorneys.. (i'm not one BTW). An you may or may not believe how complicated this subject will become.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Marty May 31, 2011 01:20 am

    @Matthew,

    its amazing how many times this happens when one artist has to deal with another artist is involved in presenting his/her work.

    Hairdressers can be some of the biggest prima donnas on the planet.....

  • Marty May 30, 2011 07:19 pm

    I think the point that some people miss when it comes to wedding photography and guestographers is that some photographers attend the event prity much at cost price to them and they make the profit in the photographs they sell to the clients afterwards.

    consider the part where the bride is walked down the Isle by her farther. Its the perfect moment to get a picture showing all the details of the back of the dress and also of when the bride and groom turn to face each other. sometimes the groom will take a quick look to see his bride coming, or the best man will take a look and give the groom a quick whisper... there are at least 3 shots there that are important to include in the wedding album.

    then imagine that uncle Bobs wife pops her head out into the isle right at the point of the perfect shot and snaps of a few shots on her 8 year old 5mp digital compact, and from the other side of the isle Auntie Maude steps out into the isle with a reasonable quality bridge camera. your shot then looses all the impact & grandeur of the dress. Its half obscured from view by Aunt Maude and Uncle Bobs wife. Your photograph becomes worthless as the chances that the happy couple will be less than happy with the resulting photograph and not select it to be included in the album. Once this starts happening on a regular basis you may well have to consider supplementing your income from elsewhere or send your kids to a cheaper school.

    This wont affect everyone. there are a lot of photographers out there that will just shoot as many shots off as they can, dump the out of focus & chopped of heads shots and just throw the rest into an album. not particularly caring as they have charged a flat fee for the event and photograph album. And to be fair, most of the time the happy couple will remain happy because they can supplement the album with photos from the guestographers, and as they most likely have only paid a couple of hundred quid they will consider they have had value for money.

    I have been to many weddings where the wedding planner has requested that the guests photographs are only taken at set times through the event and that if possible remain seated during the service, requesting if they have to leave the room to do it from the sides. This is perfect for the pro photographer and I suspect the planner has had consultations with pro photographers in the past.

    Its all about the market you are working in and the expectations the clients have of your work. If the clients want good photographs then they will listen to the professional and if the professional has concerns over guestographers then they have a choice. choose another photographer who doesn't care or act the advice.

    I would not say ban guestographers from the wedding. that's not practical or fair. but you have to draw the line somewhere. and that's entirely up to the photographer and client to decide where that line is drawn. If your position on where that line is is different to mine, it does not make your line or my line wrong. It just makes if different.

    Throughout this discussion have heard about several shot people have taken at a wedding and a few of them I will consider using myself. is that theft? no... in particular, if a I spot a guestographer that has a camera with a large LCD screen, I may consider asking them to hold the camera out at the happy couple while I shoot at the LCD screen with a narrow DOF and get the happy couple also in my shot. its a sort of modern version of the shot at the wing mirror of the wedding car showing the happy couple...

  • Matthew May 30, 2011 05:00 pm

    Elizabeth,

    Great article last week and again this, never mind some readers who take the wrong meaning it does takes all types to make the world go round! I have found humour and the joking to be the best aid in these situations.

    Along the same veing, an additional circumstance / issue you may wish to consider dealing with for the readers, happened to me this weekend. A competition involving hair styles is underway and I was asked to redo work done by someone I know, like and whose work I admire. I was rather shocked to hear how the client berated and belittled the poor guy. After doing the work, which I sincerely hope she now likes and will use, I did suggest that she in future rather have a direct conversation rather than leaving it to the tea room and discussion. A tog can perform best when expectations are clear and feedback personally delivered and immediate.

    Matt

  • Cory May 30, 2011 12:30 pm

    I think you are absolutely right. My rule at weddings, which does make a lot of the family mad, is everyone not in the formal and artistic shots is asked to step out or away while we finish up. For one it saves so much time not to have the added distraction. I also explain before hand to the wedding couple that it can really effect their shots if a lot of other flashes are going off. After all they are spending the money and should get the best they can. Love your idea with the messages though!!!

  • Anton May 30, 2011 05:41 am

    And there I Thought I have copyright on this problem, LoL nice article, thank you.

  • Adam May 30, 2011 05:16 am

    @Marty

    I never said I refused the free replacement. In fact the free replacement is hanging from my belt right now. I just extended a courtesy to OttherBox in saying that it was not necessary to replace it for free since I didn't feel it was a product defect (that's not necessary, but thank you).

    And yes, I agree it can be abused and that's unfortunate. If a client of yours called every month for a replacement that would not be ok. It's sad that you have such a pessimistic outlook on life though.

    I'm simply saying that for wedding pictures that a couple has already paid for, that'd you'd store regardless of your financial goals, that cost you less than 50 cents in materials, $160 seems a little steep. Originally (and I'm not now) I wasn't arguing that you should give it to them for free, just that $160 seems a bit steep.

    I'm not going to get in a debate about Apple - it was simply an example of what I was trying to convey. That even in the extreme (i.e. replacements for free) companies can still not screw their customers over and be successful.

    Your right, I'm not a pro photog. Big shock since I've tried so hard to keep that a secret. Your so astute (sarcasm). I suppose in this sense my perspective is that of the consumer.

  • Marty May 30, 2011 04:30 am

    @ adam,

    your right, I did call BS, not on otterbox, but on anyone who when offered a replacement free of charge would still offer to pay money. it may very well be true**, but I do smell the faint aroma of BS in the air.

    also, when you start to cite apple on ethics of business then I am afraid you loose all credibility. I have never dealt with otterbox, so I cant comment on them.

    The problem you have with companies that have very good customer services and are willing to replace products gratis even when they are out of service contract is that it WILL eventually be abused. Do you think that apple would replace EVERYONES broken iphone just because it has not previously been in for repair? I don't think so, a few customers may have had the pleasure, particularly as it was not that long ago that apple were in the press due to reports that the screens on the iphone 4 were prone to shattering even from a slight impact. not when the company has a history of selling its customers a new and improved upgraded models when older products need such things as replacement batteries or a new Hard drive. Not from a company that refused to advise customers that there was in fact MALWARE on their OSX platform when the knew about it.. No Apple are not a company to cite over ethics.

    And to finally put an end to this once and for all. MOST of my customers are from word of mouth and repeat custom, who are also very happy at what I charge for my services. and as far as I am aware you are not one of my customers so my pricing policies are none of your business. Not only that, as you are not a pro photographer I don't believe that you are in a position to make judgement on how I (or any other pro photographer) run my affairs (or my pricing policy). And take it that if you ever need a pro photographer for anything that you wont be contacting me? Oh well, I doubt I will loose any sleep.

    And that concludes this topic of conversation and I do not have any more I have to say to you on this matter, so I wouldn't even waste the effort on trying to come up with a cleaver reply. Agree to disagree.

    ** the only time I believe that anyone would refuse a free replacement of a broken product is if there were attached conditions that you do not believe to be fair or reasonable. For example, if apple required you to deny that said iphone ever was broken in the first place.

  • Adam May 30, 2011 02:48 am

    @Marty

    It is indeed the very same thing, you buy a CD or DVD, you are buying a limited licence to the media on the disks. therefore as you said it makes sense, you therefore agree that my pricing policy makes sense. (two can play at the twisting game)

    Yeah your right. There is no difference between you losing a ~19 thousand dollar CD/DVD collection and your client losing a DVD that would cost you less than 50 cents to duplicate. How could I have made such a mistake.

    (I hate to do this because it spoils the fun but inflection is lacking in text so - the previous statement was said in a sarcastic tone)

    One would think that a dude sitting on 20TB of storage would back stuff up.

    Olfaciens masculus Bos primigenius stercus.

    Not sure what your saying here. It's Latin but something is spelled wrong or something. Near as I could tell your saying what I said about OtterBox is bullshit. If that's the case then I'll tell you that a cursory search on Google will show you that this is standard business for them.

    What is your defect that prevents you from simply answering my question? Let me try it again, with another factual story.

    ---

    About a month or so ago a manager at my work broke their iPhone 4. Dropped it. Screen was shattered. I took it into the Apple store fully expecting to have to pay $200 to get a replacement. The rep. however told me that because the phone had no warranty history he could give me the replacement at no charge this one time. I walked out with a brand new iPhone 4 (well a refurb) without paying a dime.

    The idea here (and with OtterBox) is that if they (Apple, OtterBox, etc.) extend a courtesy to me (the customer) by replacing something in the way that they did they create customer loyalty. Beyond that I tell a lot of people about my experience which is free advertising for them (and the best kind - word of mouth). All it cost them was a part that cost them pennies to make.

    Horrible way to do business right?

  • Marty May 29, 2011 06:47 pm

    @adam.

    I think you need to understand something. If you say something that is perceived as offensive, then it was offensive. It makes no difference if you intended the comment or actions to be offensive. its all about how it is perceived.

    If you can't see that you have twisted my words to your own ends then you either are a very stupid person or an intelligent person that loves an argument. I go with the second option.

    "Your CD/DVD situation makes sense, in a way. And no I’d not expect the labels to give you the CDs back… it’s not really the same thing though."

    It is indeed the very same thing, you buy a CD or DVD, you are buying a limited licence to the media on the disks. therefore as you said it makes sense, you therefore agree that my pricing policy makes sense. (two can play at the twisting game)

    "I e-mailed them back with my address said that it was not necessary for them to not charge me and I’d me more than happy to pay for the cost of the clip and shipping… she e-mailed me back saying that the new clip was on it’s way."

    Olfaciens masculus Bos primigenius stercus.

  • Adam May 29, 2011 12:41 pm

    @Marty

    I twisted nothing. You said what you said and now your backpedaling. I'm not going to argue with you about this. If what you said bothers you then I'd suggest that you ask the site admins to remove your comments.

    Your CD/DVD situation makes sense, in a way. And no I'd not expect the labels to give you the CDs back... it's not really the same thing though.

    I have an OtterBox iPhone case and a few months ago a piece of the belt clip broke off that prevented be from using it as a stand. I don't know when, or exactly how but I assuemd it was my fault it broke because of the way I take it on and off. Any way, I could not find just the belt clip on-line through OtterBox distributors, so I e-mailed OtterBox and asked them if I could order a replacement clip through them. In the e-mail I explained that I felt it was broken as a result of my actions, I don't feel it was defective and I was not upset. About 24 hours later a rep e-mailed me back asking for my address so they could send me a replacement, no charge. I e-mailed them back with my address said that it was not necessary for them to not charge me and I'd me more than happy to pay for the cost of the clip and shipping... she e-mailed me back saying that the new clip was on it's way.

    horrible way to do business right?

  • Andreas May 29, 2011 05:56 am

    If this has been said before, I apologize, I haven't read all comments, but...

    You're photographing a wedding and get upset because some of the guests take the same shots as you? My god, you need to gain some perspective. IMO, if those shots belong to anyone, it's to the bride and groom who hired you. It's their decision if they want to allow their guests to bring their cameras, which could mean that they're leaning out into the aisle.

    Be generous towards others and you will recieve plenty in return, that's a general motto in life for me. Have you never seen a great idea for a photo online or in a magazine and copied some part of it? Stealing? No, that's how you develop in any field, get inspiration from others and try to do it yourself. Same thing with the wedding guests. By taking the same picture as you, they can hopefully learn a thing or two.

    And even if they don't, you still get paid! You get paid to shoot, you didn't pay for exclusive rights to shoot.

  • Marty May 29, 2011 04:06 am

    @ adam,

    no you twisted what I said, I don't deny that It can be profitable to sell something to replace an item that has been destroyed by some misfortune. It is no different to any other business replacing any item that has been destroyed due to some unforeseen event and making a profit.

    I lost my CD and DVD collection about 20 years ago. It cost something like £12,000 to replace it. Some of the movies took a great deal of effort to get as they were "Limited Editions". Some of them I paid a lot more for it second hand than I did when I bought my original. Did I expect paramount/Universal/MGM etc to replace them at no cost? no. did I think for one minute they hold back catalogues of movies so they could jump up and down in glee rubbing their hands together at all that lovely profit? no... Did I expect them to buy in and store limited editions knowing that they would be selling them later on for profit? Yes...

    Just because what I would value and charge for my services (and time) is a lot higher than you value your work (and time) does not make me a schadenfreude.

    To label me a schadenfreude is offensive and libellous.

  • Pete Marks May 29, 2011 03:54 am

    I hope I am not 'stealing' what someone else has written but I am at a total loss to understand why a professional photographer who has been PAID to take the photographs should bitch about an amateur who has not been paid, taking shots of the same poses. Now if we were talking about the professional paying the models and for a studio then of course there would be a major issue if someone sneaked shots through a window or whatever although even in that circumstance unless the thief made images of such quality that he could sell them to a magazine I fail to see what the beef is.
    Yes I do understand how annoying it would be to have folk pushing infront of you to take their shots and if a dozen flashes all fired at once to ruin yours but life is like that. I am sure OTR 18 wheeler drivers get a little unhappy that THEIR route is clogged up with idiot amateur drivers meandering along the highways.but they too have to suck it up or get a different profession..

  • Adam May 29, 2011 03:18 am

    @Marty

    @ adam
    “…… your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?”
    is the comment i find offensive and have said so several times.
    ” but where do you draw the line?”

    I don’t think its appropriate to give a donation to the plane owners. I would imagine that they are there to exhibit their planes as ether an advertisement for a builder/supplier of planes or privately owned planes maybe looking to sell the plane. Whatever their reason Its implied in the event name air SHOW….
    saying that, the last air show i attended, there was a helicopter from the air ambulance. They had collection bins to help pay the fuel bill which I donated to. There was also a plane from a group of sky divers who do tandem parachute jumps for the terminally ill. so a further donation was made there.

    I'm not sure why you find it offensive you said it. What you quoted from me is based off of what you said. You made the said several comments ago, in reference to my disaster scenario that:

    In fact, you have just confirmed to me that retaining the originals could be very profitable and worth hanging on to.

    You said it. I will not backpedal for you by apologizing for something you said.

  • Marty May 29, 2011 02:45 am

    @ adam

    "...... your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?"
    is the comment i find offensive and have said so several times.

    " but where do you draw the line?"

    I don't think its appropriate to give a donation to the plane owners. I would imagine that they are there to exhibit their planes as ether an advertisement for a builder/supplier of planes or privately owned planes maybe looking to sell the plane. Whatever their reason Its implied in the event name air SHOW....

    saying that, the last air show i attended, there was a helicopter from the air ambulance. They had collection bins to help pay the fuel bill which I donated to. There was also a plane from a group of sky divers who do tandem parachute jumps for the terminally ill. so a further donation was made there.

  • Adam May 29, 2011 01:58 am

    @Jim Pratt @Marty

    Regarding the aviation event:

    Where do you draw the line? It would be perfectly legal to take a picture of the model, you'd be well within your rights being in a place that's open to the public and certainly the model had no expectation of privacy. You could have issues if you tried to use the models image to sell anything (put it on a bottle of shampoo) but other than that, legal, you'd have every right.

    Now would it be right? Well, I don't think it would be. Certainly it would be better for you to ask permission from the other photog. Marty's donation is a good idea... but where do you draw the line?

    Should you then make a donation to the owners of the planes? To the plane manufacturers? Or to the facility owner? After all if it was not for these people you'd have no planes to take pictures of.

  • Adam May 29, 2011 01:40 am

    @Marty

    Please point out the comments that were offensive.

  • Marty May 28, 2011 10:40 pm

    "Short of the DMCA though it’s perfectly acceptable to make a copy of a CD, DVD whatever for a friend of family member, so long as you are not selling them for financial gain. Actually, I think you’d have to “lend” them the CD so and they could make a copy."

    Things are slightly different here in the UK.

    from a legal point of view, when you buy a Music CD or a movie you are buying a licence to view or listen to the media contained within the media you have paid for on a device that the media you have bought is capable of playing in the format contained in the media. You can make a backup copy for archival purposes, but you may not lend or sell this backup to a third party.

    Technically, converting your music CD to your ipod is in breach of this. same as if you have bought a bluerey disk and you converted it to DVD again would be a format shift which is not allowed.

    Personally, if you buy a DVD or Music CD, you should be allowed to copy or format shift for personal use only.

    as for the other comment I have just read about someone snapping pictures of someone else's model at an aviation event, The correct thing to do would be to ask the photographer if he minds and offer a donation towards the cost of the model. In a public place or at an event where there is no photographic restrictions, then you could snap away at someone else's model and there is not a lot you they could do. there may be legal issues if you tried to use the images commercially without a model release being signed.

  • Marty May 28, 2011 06:05 pm

    "Well, I have noting more to say then what I’ve already said."

    One of the more sensible things you have said, but an apology for your offensive comments would have been nice !

  • Adam May 28, 2011 10:32 am

    @Marty

    Well, I have noting more to say then what I've already said.

  • Marty May 28, 2011 10:00 am

    @ Adam,

    yes, confirming that keeping the originals can (and has) been profitable and your arguments confirmed that there is a profit to be made, and I am in the business of making a profit. I am not registered as a charity.

    Never the less to say that I am rubbing my hands together waiting for someone to have some sort of disaster for me to profit is offensive. I doubt all the builders and builders merchants all over the American Midwest where those tornadoes struck were all jumping up and down in glee at all the profit that they would make on the backs of a lot of suffering. Are they going to deliver a wagon load of bricks and timber to Mr & Mrs smith for free?

    As I previously stated, In the event of a disaster, then the client will no doubt be insured and the insurance will be footing the bill and Mr Smith will be very pleased that he paid the premiums that the insurance companies have been holding him hostage for over the years. I also reserve the right to waver any fees if I see fit.

    And as far as not wanting to see your point, then your wrong. I do see your point and in your market place giving freebies away is something that may help your business. Go to Bond Street in London, and ask for a discount on a made to measure suit in a high end shop. will you get a discount? no... You wont even get a penny off the price tag. Why? because it will cheapen the brand image. it goes along with the "if you have to ask the price then you cant afford it" It is you who does not wish to accept that I will conduct my business my way as it works for me. I don't need to change it. 90% of my work is from referrals and repeat custom, I make a comfortable living with plenty of free time to enjoy my life and not have to worry.

  • Adam May 28, 2011 07:11 am

    @Marty

    to be really blunt about this, infering that I would hope my clients suffer a loss and have to come crawling back for their pics is really facetious remark and to be honest I am really offended by it.

    Then you offend yourself. You said a few comments back, based on my disaster scenario, that you were more convinced that keeping client photos was a good thing in case the client suffered a disaster, they would come back to you and you could profit from it.

    Your words:

    In fact, you have just confirmed to me that retaining the originals could be very profitable and worth hanging on to.

    I almost made the ambulance chasing lawyer comparison but refrained.... Thanks for covering me on that.

    In any case you don't seem to want to hear my point. You said that you'd have the storage system you have regardless of your photography work. Never mind that the client already paid you for the pictures... I'm simply postulating that it's better business to not try to suck pennies out of your clients every chance you get. It seems to me that happy clients = more business for you.

    What's a better scenario - customer calls, needs a duplicate (replacement or otherwise) of of the DVD with pics. You say you can get it to them in a week or so and they ask how much, you tell them not to worry about it.

    Or

    customer calls, needs a duplicate (replacement or otherwise) of of the DVD with pics. You say you can get it to them in a week or so and they ask how much, you tell 160 bucks.

    Sure they may not complain about paying as most people would (should...) probably expect to pay something. All I'm saying is from the standpoint of customers service, and your word of mouth referrals, what's better?

  • Marty May 28, 2011 06:26 am

    "The question is would you have that kind of setup regardless of your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?"

    to be really blunt about this, infering that I would hope my clients suffer a loss and have to come crawling back for their pics is really facetious remark and to be honest I am really offended by it.

    I would never "hope" that anyone suffer any misfortune to make money. That's the job of a Lawyer.

    The computer system came first and its principle roll is to maintain the integrity of my data in a reliable way.A by product of that is that I can offer my clients many years later copies of any images I may have. Also, My photo archive is not just limited to weddings etc.. It has every image I have ever produced since my first 35mm SLR. Some of those photos are priceless to me and therefore I have spent thousands of pounds on securing those images from loss. If A client wishes to benefit from that then they are welcome to duplicates. But I will not do it for free.

    In the past, I have taken a break from photography and have worked in the IT industry. One of the things that really annoyed me about that line of work was the fact that people didn't like to pay the going rate for a computer repair engineer. they could not see that the value in my work was the years of experience and thousands of pounds of training courses, the hours of keeping up with the latest technology. All that combined knowledge resulted in my ability to rapidly resolve peoples issues without a fresh install of whatever operating system they were using. People didn't like the fact that a bill for £50 was for pressing a few buttons, even though they didn't know the correct order to press those same buttons to resolve the issues themselves.

    since returning to pro photography, I have never had a client complain about the price of an additional print. and for the price range I work in, I doubt I ever will. On top of all that, I have never had a request for a replacement DVD, but I have had requests for duplicate photo albums, enlargements or individual prints. Never has the price been an issue and this has included clients who have had a DVD of all of the wedding pictures. Unless they have the same quality printer, paper inks and colour profiles as well as matching mounting card for the prints, they will never get the same quality of print I can produce and ultimately that is what they are paying for.

    you can hiss and spit and vent your distaste for my working practices, i dont care....

  • Paul May 28, 2011 06:07 am

    Thanks for sharing this. Words of wisdom!

  • Adam May 28, 2011 05:36 am

    @Marty

    over the issue of the cost of storage of data. My particular system is very scalable and I can add more hard drive space in as I need. currently my servers have just under 20TB of storage space.its a quite large computer system with several servers (including mirrors) all mounted in a cabinet with un-interruptible power supplies and air conditioning. (my sister has an identical system and I hold her off site images and she holds mine). It is an extremely professional set up with plenty of redundancy and plenty of security both (physical and integrity).

    The question is would you have that kind of setup regardless of your hope that your clients will suffer a loss and have to come crawling back to you for their pics?

    I think you would. Most pros take the storage of their work seriously (or at least they should) and I can't imagine a pro photog deleting any of their work for any reason. I still have files from video work I did years ago. Despite the grand description you gave storage is cheep, less than 8 cents per gigabyte (speaking in terms of the raw storage.

    I'm curious about two things - one, what kind of hardware are you using? Two - Why do you not trust on-line backup services?

  • Teleman May 28, 2011 05:05 am

    All I can say is that there are a million great wedding photographers out there all basically doing the same thing. Every possible angle, lighting scheme, cute prop...they've all been done a thousand times before. Unless you differentiate yourself with over the top customer service, you are reducing your work to a commodity. The client is always right. I always play by their rules. There are no stipulations placed on my participation as long as we can agree on a fair fee for what they want.

    By charging a flat rate, allowing the guests to shoot to their heart's content, and giving all the files (except for a backup if they want) and copyrights to the client I take all of the stress out of it for them and for me. The client has fun, the guests have fun, I get great referrals and make a living. And you know what? I have fun too!

  • Brian Harte May 28, 2011 05:01 am

    I can see why you would be upset...escpecially if the couple were to see their guests photos before they were to see your photos and appreciate the gesture and work you had put in to the heart chalkboard idea.

  • Adam May 28, 2011 03:45 am

    @Andy Mills

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    Agreed.

    And just so it's clear I have no ill will towards you and wish you the best.

  • Adam May 28, 2011 03:41 am

    @4msetr

    Not sure if you'll get this since all my comments are suddenly "awaiting moderation" but here it goes

    This is a confusing topic for me in relation to photography. much is written in here about intellectual property and copywriting. Ad to that registration, Patient, Certificating, and then Fair Use.
    I understand that if you go to a State or National Park and take pictures there in, you have to pay the appropriate agency a royalty or flat fee to publish or make an income from such pictures. Some events sell the rights to commercial photographers to take pictures of their events and all others are disallowed (AKC does in many larger dog events. only P&S cameras allowed and none in staged areas). And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo’s are a no-no to photograph. I could go into more here, but I would like to hear from others in another topic page/blog post on this subject; especially in protecting ones rights and where the line is crossed per intellectual property and fair use. I’m just getting into this but had put pic’s up on Webshot long ago and ten of them wound up in calendars and others now own the rights to them. Yup, I’m learning the hard way. Hope this is understandable, and if not just shows how confusing all this is.

    Copyright, Patent, and Trademark are all different issues. They all generally fall under the umbrella of Intellectual Property though.

    I understand that if you go to a State or National Park and take pictures there in, you have to pay the appropriate agency a royalty or flat fee to publish or make an income from such pictures.

    This is ridiculous. State Parks are public property and therefore open game. The only thing I could find is parks requiring that you get permits, insurance, etc. if you plan on bringing in a full crew, setting up lighting, or need access to parts of the park that are not otherwise accessible to the public. You certainly don't have to pay the State or Feds a royalty, you already do - it's called taxes.

    Some events sell the rights to commercial photographers to take pictures of their events and all others are disallowed (AKC does in many larger dog events. only P&S cameras allowed and none in staged areas). And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo’s are a no-no to photograph.

    It's perfectly legal to take pictures in any public place, or any place that is generally made open to the public. this includes, stores, malls, etc. "No photography" are only enforceable as a matter of trespassing not copyright. If you were taking pictures in a store, got caught, they (store owners, managers, PIC, etc.) could not compel you to delete any photos because under copyright law they are your property.

    See: http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm for more info

    Some venues, artists, etc. require that the photog sign over all, or some, rights to any image(s) that they take at the event. This is what it is and is up to the individual photog to decide about.

    And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo’s are a no-no to photograph.

    You can photograph signs, logos, etc. all you want. You can even sell pic of these. It's all a matter of how your selling them, what your doing and if it infringes on the Trademark or not.

    but had put pic’s up on Webshot long ago and ten of them wound up in calendars and others now own the rights to them.

    Yes, most photo sharing Terms of Service (TOS) grant the site right to use any photos you upload. In fact I find it comical when a photog touts their need to maintain "creative control" all the while giving Yahoo and other companies exclusive, world wide, royalty free license to their work.

    See: http://boingboing.net/2011/05/12/all-your-pics-are-be.html

  • Andy Mills May 28, 2011 03:09 am

    @Adam

    We are going round in circles again, and I can see it doing neither of us any good to continue. I can actually see both sides of the argument and have tried to explain why professional photographers do the things they do, and why they may charge what they do. Obviously different photographers do things differently on the day, and charge different amounts for different products and services they offer. If I were a wedding photographer, the way I would do things would probably actually be closer to your ideal, but it will still be done one what I need to do to survive and what my target market demands.

    I have tried to give explanations on things and I had hoped you would see the point I was trying to make from them, but it seems in some cases you found fault in them and missed the point I was trying to make.

    I still think you are wrong on some points you have made, (you are still entitled to your opinions whether they are right or wrong) but I'm not going to argue any further unless there's something else crops up that I feel really needs to be answered, so I will stand back and let things go as they are.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree.

  • Adam May 28, 2011 02:51 am

    @Andy Mills

    You can make a backup copy for yourself, you can get away with saying that is “fair use”. Unless you have permission to do so (for example you have the copyright or license), then making a copy to give to someone else is illegal. Why do you think you have to sit through the warnings at the start of commercial DVDs?

    We have to sit through those warning because the MPAA is full of douchebags...

    Well, it depends on who you ask really. The RIAA and MPAA woudl certainly have you think it's illegal. But it's not. Now, a commercial DVD/CD/Etc. that has copy protection would in fact be illegal to copy under the DMCA even for backup since you'd have to circumvent the copy protection in order to copy it which under the DMCA is illegal.

    Short of the DMCA though it's perfectly acceptable to make a copy of a CD, DVD whatever for a friend of family member, so long as you are not selling them for financial gain. Actually, I think you'd have to "lend" them the CD so and they could make a copy.

    And in case I'm speaking out of my ass: Section 1008 of the US Copyright Statute Reads:

    § 1008. Prohibition on certain infringement actions

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

    Source: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap10.html#1008

    Also: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jdlitman/papers/warstories.pdf

  • Adam May 28, 2011 02:32 am

    @Andy Mills

    @Adam

    “There is a very thin line between pride and ego. Very. Thin.”

    Is there? Do you not have pride in your own work? Do you not go home thinking you’ve done a good job? Would you call someone egotistical because they spend time making sure an RJ45 network cable was routed properly and tidily?

    “Um, I think you’d have some industrial designers take you to tasks for you assertion that a car design is not art, that it is simply a “tool”. Still the analogy fits, insert whatever product you want, does the manufacturer dictate what you can and can’t do with it? Sometimes they try and most consider it wrong.”

    Did you completely miss the point where I said that cars can and are put on display? Why would a car be put on display? Is it not because they have some sort of artistic merit? You have completely and conveniently ignored the point I was making there and picked up on a very weak pedantic issue.

    You misted my point. I certainly take pride in my work and I try very hard to teach my kids to take pride in their work, even if it's doing something as mundane as the dishes. But again there is a thin line between and a big difference between taking pride in what you do, even being proud of yourself, and being an egotistical douchebag who thinks that because you do something well people should bow at your feet.

    My son's baseball team is undefeated this season (going into playoffs in a week). He's on a great team, with a great coach and it's really awesome to see him doing so well. This season was the first time he pitched and he struck every batter out, not a single run was had on his watch the first game he pitched. Boy did his team love him, boy did his mom and I tell him "good job" and take him out for burgers and ice cream that night in celebration of his good work (well that and he took a baseball to the side of his head - good thing he was wearing a helmet). We called Grandma and Grandpa to tell them, we told everyone we saw what a great job he did. We were proud of him and he was proud of himself.

    Do you think though that it would have been ok for him to go around saying "I'm the best pitcher in the world", or to look down on his fellow teammates or players on other teams? Do you think it would have been ok for him to deny his fellow teammates the opportunity to pitch because he did so well? No, certainly not. I had to remind him once that he needed to practice humility, in-spite of his victory. I think I felt more pride when, after burgers and ice cream, we were in the store and I heard him say "good game" to a kid from the other team who they just beat (by a huge margin).

    So yes there is a thin line between taking pride in what you do and being a jerk who's full of himself/herself. Just because that line exists does not preclude you or me from taking pride in what we do, just that we need to make sure we practice humility.

    ---

    As far as the car anthology, on the one hand you dismissed cars as art, on the other hand you say it is art. What am I to do when your being so bipolar? Sure cars are tools, my Leatherman is a tool but I still marvel at the industrial design, the art of it.

    The point remains that while you tout needing to maintain "creative control" over your pictures, the argument is a facility. If you plan to give the clients pictures at all (even prints) how are you going to stop them from modifying the pictures. I can't remember but several people said they grant the client full non-commercial use of the images, so unless you bound them by contract (and even then) how will you maintain your "creative control" short of not giving clients pictures?

    Would it be right for Leatherman to dictate what I can and can't do with my Surge? Would it be right for them [Leatherman] to claim ownership of everything that I used my Surge on? No it would not.

    I could put a bummer sticker on my CX9 that said something utterly offensive, vulgar, and rude and there would not be a damn thing Mazda could do about it. It would certainly offend people but would it ruin Mazda's image? If I spray painted my CX9 pink would people think poorly of Mazda? Would Mazda be able to call me and demand their car back?

  • Jim Pratt May 28, 2011 02:20 am

    I do photo/journalist work for an online aviation magazine. A couple of weeks ago, I was at an air show where someone else was doing some photography. He had a very attractive model with him who was posing in front of a lot of the display aircraft. It was tempting to take some pictures of the hot model, but then the question of stealing his shots came up in my mind, so I didn't do it. What is your take on that?

  • william munoz May 28, 2011 01:56 am

    This discussion on photographing weddings added one more reason why years ago I made the comment "I will photograph your funeral but not your wedding" The stress, tension etc of the principal people was to much for me to deal with, I did not have a therapy degree. What these posts have made me realize is just how far away from the reason for marriage we as a society have gotten. The 'official ' photographer seems to only add to the stress and tension. If as a professional you feel the need to be the only one or have total control then make it part of the contract and have the bride announce to all to holster their cameras until the pro is done. Oh wait that would be rude...well if you go to a wedding and have negative thoughts about the others in attendance you are creating a negative atmosphere in a setting that should be positive and loving. This calls in to question just why are you doing this? Don't tell me to make people happy...when you have a bad attitude you can not make others happy.

    Being a wedding photographer or any other type of photographer is not an intellectual property. the image I take is copyrightable and if abused I will pursue but I find inspiration from others work and hope my work inspires others.

    The technology today has made it easy to take a good picture...taking a great one is the challenge (oh and marketing them!) You and complain about the fact that everyone can take a good picture or just get on with being creative and take a great one. After 35 years in the business I know for certain that I have a lot to learn and some times that comes from unexpected sources. I have recently been inspired by what I am seeing produced by some high school students.

    What I have most felt over the years is that in my work what my intention was when taking it will go a long way to making it art or not. If I am positive during the shoot I have a good chance of getting something great... think about what negative thoughts bring.....

  • Marty May 27, 2011 08:36 pm

    the perils of an on-line debate... I got up this morning to nearly 20 new comments !!

    over the issue of the cost of storage of data. My particular system is very scalable and I can add more hard drive space in as I need. currently my servers have just under 20TB of storage space.its a quite large computer system with several servers (including mirrors) all mounted in a cabinet with un-interruptible power supplies and air conditioning. (my sister has an identical system and I hold her off site images and she holds mine). It is an extremely professional set up with plenty of redundancy and plenty of security both (physical and integrity). Since I set up this system I have never had any data loss. Does anyone want to have a guess on how much it cost to set up this system? does anyone want to guess how much it costs to maintain this system? anyone want to guess at the running costs of this system? think luxury car (a European and remember we pay near $8 a gal for our fuel ).

    Could I have my data stored cheaper elsewhere? Probably. would I trust those on-line storage companies with my data? that will be big NO!!!!

    Its up to each individual photographer to decide on what works for you. a lot of that depends on the market place you are working in. to be fair, when some people contact me for a booking, when one of the first questions they ask is about cost inevitably I am out of their price range. If you are only going to charge £400 for your services then I can understand why you would think £100 for a DVD is expensive. But when clients pay between £1.800 and £2,500 for a set of wedding pictures, then £100 for a DVD is not unreasonable.

    Something that has come to mind too. thing about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Eric Schmidt and others like them. They are all very successful businessmen, all have made a lot of money in their respective field. All of them are generally described as "douchebags" Do they care what people think of them? unless they are directly involved in their day to day business life, I doubt it... So I will take a leaf out of their collective works and not care what a few small minded people think. My Business works for me and my clients. It gives me a good lifestyle. I can live with that, if you cant that's your problem!

    Also, The photograph in the title of this story with all the guestographers. I have been looking at this images over and over. In its own rights it is an awesome photograph. It actually highlights the fact that the bride is the centre of attention and her image is sort after. It is a scene that I would consider staging at a wedding to be included in the album. Have I stole that image, No, Have I been inspired by it Yes. Stealing it would be pulling the image off the web and including it in my wedding brochures as the sort of shots I would take. That's not going to happen. I may stage a similar shot then include that in my brochures. I would also credit the photograph with Elizabeth Halford as the creative inspiration for the shot.

  • Chris Moody May 27, 2011 08:10 pm

    I'm an aspiring photographer, not quite professional yet, but very recently I started to shoot a few gigs that my girlfriend was playing at.

    One gig was a competition, where a professional had been hired. It was my first dealings with any kind of professional, but it was a good experience. I was mostly sat at our table on the side, which offered a great angle of the stage. During the night the pro moved around, including shooting behind me. At a few points he gestured for me to come over to try angles he had tried, which I thought was very thoguhtful, we even swapped lenses at one point. It never crossed my mind about "stealing images" but if it crossed his, I don't think he minded, and was happy to offer help and tips to improve my technique :)

  • David May 27, 2011 02:18 pm

    Frankly, I reckon you are being a bit up yourself. You seem to forget that you are at the wedding being very well paid to take photos.

    So, they are not your photos - they belong to the people paying your wage, and if they permit their friends and relatives to take photos as well as you that is their choice.

    You sound like a spoilt kid who is reckoning that because it was your idea to have ice-cream no one else is allowed to have any. I would suggest you grow up, take the photos you get paid to take, and let others at the wedding do what they wish to.

  • 4msetr May 27, 2011 11:30 am

    I'll add one more thing, a link to copyright, trademark, patients....Chilling Effects: http://chillingeffects.org/copyright/ Youtube is coming down on subscribers using copyright work. Where is he line?

  • 4msetr May 27, 2011 11:20 am

    This is a confusing topic for me in relation to photography. much is written in here about intellectual property and copywriting. Ad to that registration, Patient, Certificating, and then Fair Use.
    I understand that if you go to a State or National Park and take pictures there in, you have to pay the appropriate agency a royalty or flat fee to publish or make an income from such pictures. Some events sell the rights to commercial photographers to take pictures of their events and all others are disallowed (AKC does in many larger dog events. only P&S cameras allowed and none in staged areas). And stores, buildings, commercial signs, logo's are a no-no to photograph. I could go into more here, but I would like to hear from others in another topic page/blog post on this subject; especially in protecting ones rights and where the line is crossed per intellectual property and fair use. I'm just getting into this but had put pic's up on Webshot long ago and ten of them wound up in calendars and others now own the rights to them. Yup, I'm learning the hard way. Hope this is understandable, and if not just shows how confusing all this is.

  • Nicole May 27, 2011 11:15 am

    Just this Saturday I attended a wedding where I was the
    guestographer. I was so glad I read comments back a few months ago about Photographers of weddings getting upset with guests intruding in on their shots. I wanted to make sure I was clear of their photographer. i missed out on taking some shots I would have love to have had but I am glad I did. i wish all guests could be aware of the paid photographer and pay attention to where they are and what they are doing at all times. I will say this though. At the wedding this Saturday, I noticed there wasnt a photographer taking shots from the back of the isle looking up toward the bride and groom. I snuck to the back row and took some shots. Come to find out, the second photographer got locked out of the sanctuary and wasnt able to take the shots!! The bride has my shots now, of which she is eternally greatful. i am not as good as the paid photographer, but i am glad I was brave enough to step out and take the shots.

  • Andy Mills May 27, 2011 10:56 am

    @rd

    I'll reiterate what I said to Adam:

    "Did you completely miss the point where I said that cars can and are put on display? Why would a car be put on display? Is it not because they have some sort of artistic merit?"

    I am actually a car fan. I had pictures of cars on my bedroom walls as a boy. I have been to dozens of cars shows. I have exhibited my own cars at car shows. I have taken hundreds of photos of cars. I helped my granddad work on cars when I was young, And I am a fully qualified and experienced motor vehicle technician, not just a "fitter". So I have spent a huge part of my life around cars.

    So I can and do appreciate art when it's applied to cars, but there is no denying that a car is still a tool to get you from A to B. Some just do it better (and with more style) than others.

  • Judy Wood May 27, 2011 10:52 am

    My daughter was a "guestographer" at her sister-in-law's wedding a couple of years back, and I thought she handled herself really well. Before the action started, she introduced herself to the
    "real" photographer, explaining who she was and what she hoped to do in the way of shots, and that she had the permission and approval of the bride. In addition to keeping out of the pros way, my daughter by chance was able to help out when the photographer had either battery or memory card issues (I don't remember which it was), then went the extra mile by asking the photographer for the name of her favourite charity and making a nice donation to the charity as a thank-you for the photographer's co-operation at the wedding. Seems win-win to me.

  • Kit Laughlin May 27, 2011 10:46 am

    I should have added that the reason I sign over copyright once the job's done is that, at that point, my job is done—it's not as though I will never have another good idea for a photograph! I feel that when a client pays for a job, they have the right to own it (like if I built them a house); they can then do what they like with it.

    OTOH, if they want me to do more with it, later, I simply charge my processing rate for that work.

    All my clients very much like this approach, too, BTW.

  • Kit Laughlin May 27, 2011 10:43 am

    Hello Elizabeth,

    I have been a commercial photographer for 30+ years; and (coming from film—in fact, the majority of my work has been shot on film), I have the approach of signing over copyright completely to the client (like when we used to hand over the Kodachrome rolls to the client, on site, in the old days). This point is tangential to the trust of your original posts, but relevant, I feel, and can ease a lot of the present-day frustrations.

    I charge a high daily rate, and these costs are known to the client up front. some of my clients (like John Deere) only want the Raw files (just like back in the Kodachrome days!) and others want post processing. I have a daily shooting rate, and a half-day shooting rate (3/4 of the day rate) and I have another rate for the processing time. I always estimate the PP required, and stick to that even if it takes longer.

    Being a photographer is a business; and it can be done with heart, and sensitivity, or it can be done coldly and clinically—just like any other business. For me, as long as all the costs are known up front, it's a case of caveat emptor, like any other business. The market will select, based on the quality of your work, versus its cost. Great work.

  • Andy Mills May 27, 2011 10:42 am

    @Adam

    "There is a very thin line between pride and ego. Very. Thin."

    Is there? Do you not have pride in your own work? Do you not go home thinking you've done a good job? Would you call someone egotistical because they spend time making sure an RJ45 network cable was routed properly and tidily?

    "Um, I think you’d have some industrial designers take you to tasks for you assertion that a car design is not art, that it is simply a “tool”. Still the analogy fits, insert whatever product you want, does the manufacturer dictate what you can and can’t do with it? Sometimes they try and most consider it wrong."

    Did you completely miss the point where I said that cars can and are put on display? Why would a car be put on display? Is it not because they have some sort of artistic merit? You have completely and conveniently ignored the point I was making there and picked up on a very weak pedantic issue.

  • Kit Laughlin May 27, 2011 10:42 am

    Hello Elizabeth,

    I have been a commercial photographer for 30+ years; and (coming from film—in fact, the majority of my work has been shot on film), I have the approach of signing over copyright completely to the client (like when we used to hand over the Kodachrome rolls to the client, on site, in the old days). This point is tangential to the trust of your original posts, but relevant, I feel, and can ease a lot of the present-day frustrations.

    I charge a high daily rate, and these costs are known to the client up front. some of my clients (like John Deere) only want the Raw files (just like back in the Kodachrome days!) and others want post processing. I have a daily shooting rate, and a half-day shooting rate (3/4 of the day rate) and I have another rate for the processing time. I always estimate the PP required, and stick to that even if it takes longer.

    Being a photographer is a business; and it can be done with heart, and sensitivity, or it can be done coldly and clinically—just like any other business. For me, as long as all the costs are known up front, it's a case of caveat emptor, like any other business. The market will select, based on the quality of your work, versus its cost. Great work.

  • rd May 27, 2011 10:27 am

    @Andy Mills Says:
    May 27th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    maybe some of you are old enough, maybe not. it's been a while, but I can remember when the automobile companies were proud of the "body by Fischer" advertisement. of course, those were innovative - now most cars look like the same designer did all the cars. I guess the artists that create them aren't "important" any more.

  • Andy Mills May 27, 2011 10:25 am

    "If I wanted to give a copy of a disk I had to may parents for instance then I’d make a copy of the disk myself. I believe that falls under Fair Use. As far as a disk getting ruined… I kind of see you point but ask you, how has that model worked out for the music industry?"

    You can make a backup copy for yourself, you can get away with saying that is "fair use". Unless you have permission to do so (for example you have the copyright or license), then making a copy to give to someone else is illegal. Why do you think you have to sit through the warnings at the start of commercial DVDs?

    "forget about the disk- were really talking about bits, the bits that make up the image… has the client not already paid you for those. As an example, look at the iPhone app. model – say I buy and app and then my phone needs to be restored. Do I have to buy the app again? No, as long as I use the same iTunes account I can reinstall the version of the app. I purchased without being charged again. Amazon and B&N have the a similar model for their ebook readers – you buy a book once, if your Kindle is lost or broken you simply get a new one and your books are added to it without you being charged again."

    Not all software and media is licensed in this way. Some software only allows you to download for a year, afterwords you have to pay further. Some software you only license for a year then you haveto pay for further updates and so on.

    And a reason for charging further has already been given.

    I myself have over 2Tb of hard drives as it is, internally and externally, and they are just about full. And I am not a full time professional. A professional may only keep around the last 6 months of photos and related files on their main machine's hard drive, then it has to be moved off onto other storage.

    Backing it up, moving it off to other storage medium, the cost of the that storage, the cost of off site storage. It all adds up. and fast. All this takes time, as does finding the files required to burn fresh copies. Finding a DVD archive then burning, printing up any cover artwork and packaging it could take half an hour (or even longer), how much is that half hour worth to you? Oh yeah, then you have to drive to the post office to send it. How long does that take? 10 minutes, 30 minutes? An hour? You seem to expect photographers to do this all at their own cost.

  • rd May 27, 2011 10:18 am

    I'd surely think, IF I was hired to be the official photographer, that I'd set it up with whoever is running the show about the "official" photo's that are set up/posed, and the ones that are essentially snapshots (love that word) of the events as they happen, like the bride coming down the aisle or the kiss. AND, IF it were my wedding - there'd be NO cameras except the official photographer during the ceremony. Before, after, whatever - but not while the bride and groom are supposed to be the center of attention and don't need 40 or 50 flash's going off.

    but have no fear - "I" don't go to weddings or funerals, I went to a wedding - mine, I'm not going to my own funeral.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 10:17 am

    @Andy Mills

    "Yes, the clients could edit the JPEGs to make you look bad, but if you do the job properly they shouldn’t have to or feel the need to edit them further."

    It has noting to do with "needing" to edit the pictures. People will want to just for kicks, to try out their skills at PS Elements or MS Paint. People will frak with their pictures just for kicks. Again, how are you going to stop them? And if it's such a concern... well why give them the pictures at all? they may not frame them right, or put them on the right wall in their house, crap someone is bound to stuff one inside their wallet. How are you going to stop these horrors?

  • Adam May 27, 2011 10:08 am

    @Andy Mills

    There is a very thin line between pride and ego. Very. Thin.

    Um, I think you'd have some industrial designers take you to tasks for you assertion that a car design is not art, that it is simply a "tool". Still the analogy fits, insert whatever product you want, does the manufacturer dictate what you can and can't do with it? Sometimes they try and most consider it wrong.

  • Andy Mills May 27, 2011 09:59 am

    @Adam
    @Adam

    Are you sure you're not mistaking someone having pride in what they do, their work, for ego?

    Yes, the clients could edit the JPEGs to make you look bad, but if you do the job properly they shouldn't have to or feel the need to edit them further.

    If you think that a botched edit job on your photos is not going to lose you further sales and referrals, you really are mistaken. Even if you tell the bride and groom that they can have the unedited files on the understanding that you are not named, there are still people who saw you at the wedding and will know you.

    If I were in this position, I would not risk my business's reputation on something that I could not rely on. If the bride and groom do not like this, then they can go and find someone else – and to be honest, the sort of people who would be looking for this probably are in the low end bargain bucket market anyway.

    Your car metaphor isn't appropriate. With exception to some models, either luxury or more exotic, or even classic, cars are tools for getting you around. They are expected to wear out, get dirty and accumulate damage over time. This is accepted, and there's nothing manufacturers can do about this.

    The luxury, exotic and classic cars are often put on display, and these are cleaned to give the best impression possible. Why do you think that new and used cars at a dealership are valeted before being put on sale? It because they give a better impression, are easier to sell and are worth more money.

    A wedding photo is not a tool, it is meant for display. A poorly edited photo will affect people's perceptions and effect whether it generates further sales, and it will devalue your photos and your worth as a photographer.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 09:50 am

    @Andy Mills

    "If you want another copy of something (regardless of cost), not just a DVD from a shop in a high street because the first one got ruined, or you wanted one for your parents, would you expect that shop to give you the second one at a hugely reduced cost, or even free? Why should it be any different for a photographer? Why should they have to charge a fraction of the cost for further copies?"

    If I wanted to give a copy of a disk I had to may parents for instance then I'd make a copy of the disk myself. I believe that falls under Fair Use. As far as a disk getting ruined... I kind of see you point but ask you, how has that model worked out for the music industry?

    forget about the disk- were really talking about bits, the bits that make up the image... has the client not already paid you for those. As an example, look at the iPhone app. model - say I buy and app and then my phone needs to be restored. Do I have to buy the app again? No, as long as I use the same iTunes account I can reinstall the version of the app. I purchased without being charged again. Amazon and B&N have the a similar model for their ebook readers - you buy a book once, if your Kindle is lost or broken you simply get a new one and your books are added to it without you being charged again.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 09:38 am

    @Dandwdad

    I'm not saying that guests should be allowed to interfere. Between the two posts I've never said that it was ok for a guest to intentionally, or unintentional interfere with the hired photog. What's being debated in this post is how far does, or how far should, intellectual property boundaries extend in terms of the photog "owning" a pose or setup. As you can probably tell from reading this (and the other) post it's largely a matter of opinion and personal ethics.

    As far as the cost of the DVD... I think it's a safe bet that most professional photogs will keep all their work. Regardless of the potential for a client to need a copy of an image(s). So it difficult for me to swallow the argument that your going out of your way to store the image(s) on behalf of your client.

    Considering that a leading off-site backup company charges $50 a year for unlimited space and extremely low cost of on-site storage (3TB drives for under $200 and getting lower) it does not strike me as a relevant argument to quote the high cost of storage, especially since it's something you'd very likely be doing anyway.

    You do a wedding, get paid for your time, the prints/digital copies of the images, etc. A couple of years later the couple call you asking for a copy of the digital image because they can't find their disk. You spend all of 15 minutes locating the images, and maybe another 5 putting them on a disk. 20 minutes of your time, a 50 cent disk, and rather than build rapport with people who could be clients again (family portraits, friends getting married) you'd stick it to them again for $100+. $15, $20 for your time and materials maybe but $100 or more?

    That seems like a crappy way to run a business.

  • Andy Mills May 27, 2011 09:23 am

    @Adam

    "And yet she, nor you can justify charging a client $100 for a dupe of a DVD..."

    If you want another copy of something (regardless of cost), not just a DVD from a shop in a high street because the first one got ruined, or you wanted one for your parents, would you expect that shop to give you the second one at a hugely reduced cost, or even free? Why should it be any different for a photographer? Why should they have to charge a fraction of the cost for further copies?

    By all means, perhaps it's a good idea to offer discounts to the clients for further copies of the DVDs. But it is not up to you to tell them what they should charge because you do not like it. It's up to the photographer to decide what to charge and then up to the bride and groom to look through the price list, and decide if they find what the photographer charges is acceptable or unacceptable. If it truly is unacceptable, that photographer will have to change their pricing or go under.

    I shall say this again, a photographer is a small business owner. They are, like every other business out there, there to make money. They *have* to make money to put food on the table and pay bills. Sometimes this does mean doing things they (or you) do not like. A photographer is not a charity.

  • Dandwdad May 27, 2011 09:08 am

    @Lycoming - you are right people are looking a lot of times to the 'crowd' taking the pictures and sadly they are finding they lost out. Flowers are pretty and smell nice (mostly) but will you have them 5,10,20 years down the line? With some of today's weddings pushing 40,50, even $60,000, the only thing you walk away from a marriage physically is maybe a utensils, some gifts and the marriage certificate; $60,000 and you walk away with essentially nothing? Some money from the flowers to the photographer could make those memories better. This is part of what I am explaining to people - what else do you have but the real images I've made with them?

    And there's another point, Uncle Bob can take a picture, maybe even a good one, but does he know how to direct the couple? Does he know what a good time is to take the personal portraits? Does he bring reflectors, diffusers, multiple cameras? Does he backup the pictures to offline backups for 20 years? A good wedding photographer doesn't just snap shots, they make an image and take what can be a joyous and exciting, scary and even nauseating (ask the brides :) ) event into a showcase of the beauty of the day. Shoot away Uncle Bob.

    @Adam - I appreciate your feelings on 'screwing' the people, especially since our wedding photographer did the same thing, he kept the negatives (per agreement) and stored them. The photographer contacted us and was getting out of the business and offered to sell us the negatives. We didn't take it because we didn't have the money at the time, but we would have. It does upset me that because I didn't have enough money, they are gone forever. If they were scanned and uploaded I could always go back and get copies.

    Electronic formats have to have power to be accessed, and they have to work (things crash) and they have to be accessible at a later time (anyone know how long DNGs will be usable?) It costs money to store backups, hard copy or electronic; $100 for getting your pictures back is paying for me to have those available to you, not for making the DVD. A safe deposit box at the bank for the original DVD would be $5-10 a month, over 10 years that's a minimum of $600 (and yes that is exclusive storage of the photos, a safe deposit box can hold more.) So, in my opinion, Matt charging a $100 is for the extra work of keeping back ups, not for the actual pictures.

    If you think charging them for the DVD or copies etc is 'douchebag' behavior, then we can save some money and destroy the originals after the couple gets what they want; is it fair to expect me to pay to keep backups when I'm not getting paid for it? You could include it in the contract I guess, but I'd think couples would see that and immediately want that cost removed. "It won't happen to us." Matt is doing a favor in a way, if everyone paid for the backups up front then most wouldn't get value for the service, they won't need/want them later; Matt's way only the people who actually need the backups pay for them.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 07:37 am

    @Marty

    Sorry, didn't see the £ symbol (actually makes it worse, £100 in US dollars is $163). In any case while you can say that the inflated cost is because of the images on the disk... it does not change the fact that the client already paid you for the images. Your double dipping aren't you?

  • Marty May 27, 2011 07:29 am

    "No, I don’t know what you charge. I’m sorry the $100 I mentioned was from Marty, a price he said he’d charge for a dupe of a DVD. I was using it as an example since you seemed to be defending his position (just my perception, not implying anything at all)."

    it was actually £100 not $100, some $60 difference.

    I did actually justify this first of all as being the current market value for a DVD of photographs. ( I paid £125 for half a dozen photographs on print and DVD from Discovery Cove this year.

    also, its not about the media, its about the content. a disk containing 200+ photographs for £100 works out at approx 50p per image.

    If the disk was to only contain 5 images, then it would not cost any where near £100, more like £20 ($30) a lot higher cost per image.

    Also, The disks I use are not cheap generic brands. I pay for the top quality Verbatim disks and high quality cases. posted to the client via recorded delivery (plus insurance) also consider my time to produce the disk. the cost of the equipment to produce the disk.

    £100 is not unreasonable for a copy of a disk 5 years later. If they wanted a second disk at the same time as the original, than that's another matter, that would most probably be gratis as your only looking at 10 min extra work.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 07:09 am

    Here in the UK, model releases are not essential but some clients (media companies mostly) do insist on them. Also, you would only require a release if main subject of the photograph is a person.

    When I shoot a wedding or anywhere, as I reserve the right to use the photographs in any way I see fit then this in basis is a model release. I know uncle bob and aunty maude did not sign the "release" but as they are attending a private event hosted by my clients they in effect allow me publish photographs including the guests as I see fit.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 07:05 am

    @Marty

    "At last, someone who actually has a clue about running a professional photography studio !"

    And yet she, nor you can justify charging a client $100 for a dupe of a DVD....

  • Adam May 27, 2011 07:01 am

    @Marty

    Admittedly it was a silly analogy...

    And there are good people who are working to change the way creative works are protected, both in the interest of the artist, the client, and the community at large.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 06:58 am

    @mindy

    "A) You have no idea what I charge for anything.
    B) I don’t give away or sell files unless there is a compelling reason for doing so
    C) When a photographer runs a legitimate business, she or he has ongoing costs of business that need to be recouped through the transactions made with clients. Clients who want a photographer to maintain a well-organized, thoroughly backed-up file system, and take the time to fulfil subsequent orders years down the line are prepared to pay the going rate for those orders."

    No, I don't know what you charge. I'm sorry the $100 I mentioned was from Marty, a price he said he'd charge for a dupe of a DVD. I was using it as an example since you seemed to be defending his position (just my perception, not implying anything at all).

  • Marty May 27, 2011 06:55 am

    @Mindy...

    At last, someone who actually has a clue about running a professional photography studio !

  • Adam May 27, 2011 06:52 am

    @Marty

    Ok you give a reasonable argument but in your last reply (having a pic of a celebrity). But I'm not suggesting that you should give up your rights to the photo. All I'm saying is why not give the clients who paid you to take the photo full rights to it? In the case of the celeb then it would be the celeb who had the pic of themselves and you'd still be able to sell it to the media.

    I'm not sure how UK law works in regards to model releases etc. OS I'm speaking from my perspective in the US. Given your example (you had contact info for the celeb) I'll assuming that you had a model release and that it sated that you could use the images you took at the time for an reason you wanted. If so then you'd not need to contact the person other than as a courtesy.

    Model release are not really necessary to begin with unless you plan to use a person's image to sell a product. They are certainly a good idea but mostly just a formality.

    Even if you didn't have a release, if the person is now in the public eye then it kinda becomes fair game as your image would probably be deemed "newsworthy". Celebs are generally considered fair game, hence paparazzi who sell images of celebs without their permission.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 06:47 am

    "Ok, so your saying if there was a law that mandated people to club people over the head on Tuesdays then it would"

    If that law was to club convicted paedophiles and rapists over the head then I would be in the queue to collect my bat !

    as that would never be brought into law in any country then it is a silly analogy.

    We have been having an issue in this country over the last few weeks where a famous international footballer was having an affair with another celebrity. they had applied to the courts and gained an injunction preventing the press from publishing his name or anything that could identify him. This was done due to some human rights laws that we have here. The name of the person involved was common knowledge to everyone, the press just could not report it. over 10,000 people revealed his name on twitter and as twitter is not based or have any offices in the UK the courts had no power to force twitter to remove these posts. 10,000 people broke the law therefore the law is unenforceable in this case. Laws should be challenged if they are wrong.

  • Mindy May 27, 2011 06:43 am

    Sorry, folks, the above was in response to Adam.

  • Mindy May 27, 2011 06:40 am

    A) You have no idea what I charge for anything.
    B) I don't give away or sell files unless there is a compelling reason for doing so
    C) When a photographer runs a legitimate business, she or he has ongoing costs of business that need to be recouped through the transactions made with clients. Clients who want a photographer to maintain a well-organized, thoroughly backed-up file system, and take the time to fulfil subsequent orders years down the line are prepared to pay the going rate for those orders.

    O.k., I'm finished with this discussion now. Too stressful to argue with some guy I don't even know, especially when he seems to relish rabble-rousing.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 06:32 am

    "Sure, you should have the option to do what you want with it but what good is it to you beyond putting in your portfolio, or advertizing?"

    On two separate occasions. I have taken photographs of a person who have later became famous (well in the UK). The value of those photographs then have a value above that of possible reprints for the original client. Imagine for instance you have in your photo archives a the first baby photographs of say Tom Cruse or Oprah? Those photographs will be worth a lot of money on the open market.

    I contacted the person in the photographs I had to tell them that I had these images and that I planned to make them available to the press and did they have any objections. In both cases there was no objection. And to be honest I an not sure on how I would have gone forward if they had of objected. As the copyright holder I was free to do as I wish with the pictures and did not even need to ask if there was an objection. I seriously doubt that Tom Cruse would have no objections but again you have to consider the value of that image.

    I have even sold a picture to the media of a UK celebrity getting a parking ticket for parking in a ambulance bay outside a medical centre. Maybe I would not have published the picture of the celebrity if it was just a parking ticket, but because it was due to him being in a ambulance bay (he wasn't in the medical centre he was collecting a suit from a nearby shop) and believing that the rules don't apply to him then name and shame him.

    You never know the value of a photograph and for that reason I maintain a very large archive and ALWAYS carry a camera. If your only interest is producing wedding or portraitures then there is not need to maintain an archive. Give all your rights away to your work if that is the case.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 06:25 am

    @Mindy

    I'm not saying that people should not pay for "subsequent orders" but $100 for throwing some pics on a DVD that costs less than 50 cents? How do you justify that?

  • Adam May 27, 2011 06:22 am

    @Marty

    "I beg to differ. The laws are made for a reason and while you act within the law then how can you be anything but right? If you do not agree with a law then you are free to break that law, but you will have to suffer the consequence’s of that action."

    You beg to differ because following the law benefits you.

    Ok, so your saying if there was a law that mandated people to club people over the head on Tuesdays then it would be wrong to not follow that law?

    Let me put it this way: How to you ethically justify maintaining ownership of work that you've been paid to produce?

  • Mindy May 27, 2011 06:17 am

    I'm not sure why I'm bothering to respond here, since the pattern seems to be to attack anything I've said, but here goes: Adam, your "moral" compass is oh, so admirable - but your business sense is lacking. Should every business be held to your way of thinking, we should all be paying nothing more than the materials cost for any product or service. As much as I'd like to purchase a car for a couple of hundred bucks, I recognize that someone has to pay for the ingenuity that contributed to the design and creation of that vehicle. Of course clients should pay for subsequent orders - that's how business works.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 06:10 am

    @Marty

    I've played with the Nikon units, there neat.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 06:10 am

    @ adam.

    "But just because the law is on your side does not make it right.

    I beg to differ. The laws are made for a reason and while you act within the law then how can you be anything but right? If you do not agree with a law then you are free to break that law, but you will have to suffer the consequence's of that action.

    Sometimes laws do need to be changed if there are loopholes that are exploited or if they are no longer in the best interest of the public. Also US laws and UK laws (along with many other countries) differ. It has also been suggested that the USA need reminding at times where their jurisdiction ends. ie, US law is not applicable in the UK. so be careful when stating laws. they may not be applicable here.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 06:08 am

    @Marty

    "@ Adam. You cant just claim that something is a poor analogy or “silly”and not follow it up with reasoning. All analogies will be in some way flawed and never perfect."

    I can and I did... I just don't think that your analogies make sens in the context of the discussion.

    And if I'm causing trouble then so be it. Comments on this post are open, inviting others to share their opinion and that's all I've done. The problem seems to be that you don't like my opinion, which is fine but that does not mean I'm "causing trouble".

    I think that your a douchebag because you are willing to nickle and dime your clients to death even after you've gotten paid for you work. Nothing personal, if it's an attack then it's an attack against you as a business person, not an individual. I'm sure your a nice guy. It's certainly your right to screw your clients over, I just think it makes you worthy of being labeled a douchebag.

    In the end all I'm saying is, you get paid to be at the wedding and take pictures. I think it's wrong that photogs maintain ownership of paid work. Sure, you should have the option to do what you want with it but what good is it to you beyond putting in your portfolio, or advertizing?

    Five years down the line a client comes to you and asks for a copy of the images on DVD. You'd charge then $100 (on top of what they already paid you for the wedding) for a piece of plastic that cost you less than 50 cents. You cite your artistic integrity as the reason... I say it's being a douchebag. Nothing personal.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 05:56 am

    also @ Mindy,

    ” Our slave units go off because of Uncle Bob’s flash, and we lose the lighting on our next shot."

    Those slave units that are triggered by a flash are not really any good unless you can control the environment 100% that your shooting in.

    Take a look at the Nikon speedlight system. slaves are triggered by a remote signal and not a flash. the flash can also be adjusted from the remote trigger or the camera. It makes making adjustments to power of the flash a lot simpler.

  • Shelly May 27, 2011 05:51 am

    Having read the copyright law from a writing perspective, my understanding is that you can't copyright ideas, only the execution or interpretation of them. The issue gets murky when you have to define "idea," which seems to be different in academia, where you might be researching something and take the ideas/conclusions/theories/etc of scholars without crediting them for their work. It's not that you took their idea of researching X, but that you took their ideas about idea X. As for music riffs, well, those aren't ideas; they're actual work. People have lost cases where they've been sued for stealing movie ideas or book ideas because it was more than a matter of taking the idea or premise for a similar work, but that the person copied a series of details, making it not theft of idea but theft of creative effort. It's not a matter of black or white.

    I have no legal training, but from what I've read, it seems that each individual case needs to be determined on its own merits. And there's a big difference between copyright/trademark law and ethics.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 05:42 am

    @ Mindy,

    I am beginning to come to the conclusion that Adam is just out to cause trouble.

    I can honestly understand where you are coming from saying that you would pack up your kit if it was impossible to do the job you are being paid for.

    How much could anyone put up with before enough would be enough. I Think in the past I have tolerated more than most would and was very weary of telling a guest at the event to back off. the last thing I would want to do is to be at the centre of a argument at somebody else's wedding. That's not the memories the happy couple would want. But so long as its diplomatically done, and guests made aware that their activities have the potential to destroy the photographs that have been paid for, they usually back off.

  • Teleman May 27, 2011 05:38 am

    Mindy,
    I'm not bitter at all. Life is good. I hope yours is too.

    I'm all about making the client happy. The reason this touched a nerve is that I have been contacted by way too many young couples who are in a fix because they realized that their prima donna wedding photographer is driving them nuts and they are looking for another option way too late in the game. It breaks my heart to see them losing sleep over it when they should be enjoying the ride. If your comments were tongue in cheek, then I totally misunderstood and I apologize!

  • Adam May 27, 2011 05:30 am

    @Mindy

    I call it how I see it.

    I just can't get my head around the idea that you'd walk out of a wedding if some guest (who the bride and groom have no real control over) pulled out their cell phone to snap a pic. Regardless if the B&G were made aware of this provision in your contract... I'm sure they'd be surprised if half way through a session you started to pack up and leave and you cited the brides mom using her cell phone camera as the reason.

    Sure if it's a veiled threat to make sure that the B&G take steps to prevent interference during the posed session then fine. But based on the way you talk you seem pretty determined to act on it. I sure hope you'd refund the couples money.

    You also seem to be against guests being allowed to take pictures at all during the wedding... again, childish.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 05:21 am

    @ Adam. You cant just claim that something is a poor analogy or "silly"and not follow it up with reasoning. All analogies will be in some way flawed and never perfect.

    reading a few posts and how other people see things, I can see that I need to make myself and how I do business clear.

    First of all, I consider myself an artist and the camera my artform. I also do wedding photographs and other commissioned work such as portraiture, event photography and object photography . to pay the bills. Cameras and other kit does not come cheap and to just keep to my artwork does not pay enough to both make a living and keep up with expensive kit.

    When I am hired to take the photographs of a wedding, my client is not just hiring a camera, lighting, director and guy to press the button. They are hiring someone to take photographs of the event. for that there is a fee to be paid. Usually, I do not contractually oblige the client to buy any of my photographs. It is Entirely up to them. They judge if they want to employ my services depending if they like my previous work or not. They may discuss particular poses or a particular style. During this consultation I will clearly state how much I will charge to attend the event and photograph it. I will also clearly state the cost of any prints. or package of prints.

    And just in-case you missed it or it was not clear enough I SELL THE CLIENTS PRINTS OR PACKAGE OF PRINTS. not the rights to the images....if they buy a DVD of the Images. Then they are buying a UNLIMITED NON COMMERCIAL LICENCE TO THOSE IMAGES. If in the future they require another set of prints then that is what they get, another set of prints. If the client requires the original files and transfer of copyright then a price will be negotiated for that.

    This is what has worked for me in the past and will continue to work for me in the future. I am not going to change my methods and working practices just because some guy is trying to look down on my from his self appointed moral high ground.

  • Mindy May 27, 2011 05:11 am

    Adam, it's your tone, obviously.

    And I don't "threaten" to walk out - it's a clear policy that the client agrees with ahead of time, no surprises. I've never had to use it - I use a gentle, kind and polite approach and have had pretty good luck with that - I've yet to meet a client who prefers to have chaos and multiple cameras present during a portrait shoot, wedding or otherwise.

  • Darren May 27, 2011 05:04 am

    Elizabeth:
    Great post and I enjoy your style of writting. Please don't change a thing!

    Thanks,
    Darren

  • Adam May 27, 2011 04:41 am

    @Mindy

    Don't cite your right to post you opinion and then condemn me for posting mine. It makes you look like a hypocrite.

    You said you'd walk out on a wedding you were being paid to shoot. I think that's a childish attitude and frankly I can't believe that you'd even think if causing that kind of disruption at someone's wedding.

    You want moderation because you post a comment and not everyone agrees with you... childish.

  • Mindy May 27, 2011 04:33 am

    Adam and Teleman,
    What do you gents get out of this process? You're so bitter, negative, judgemental and unpleasant to the others who post here.

    Adam, clearly I was using humour there regarding my "toys." The method works for me, so I shared it - isn't that what this forum is about? Or is it more of a platform to help you feel superior by bashing anyone who doesn't agree with your ideas?

    DPS folks - some moderating would be useful here. I really like DPS but have come across bullies in several of the forums and it takes the fun out of it.

  • Teleman May 27, 2011 04:32 am

    By the way, I give them the rights to the photos not as a selling point - I just think it's the right thing to do. I make a good living and can count the vast majority of my clients as friends afterwards. Not bad at all!

    Sorry for my lunatic rant earlier. I simply think that photography should bring joy to others. If it does, the money will follow (and it has). All the best to all of you.

  • Heather May 27, 2011 04:28 am

    I'm a Digital Arts teacher and the issue of plagiarism and "stealing" is a big one in my class.

    I love having this post as a spring-board for refreshing this discussion with my kids. Especially since, as a class of 26 kids and 8 cameras, I often assign lighting design as a group project. The students help each other understand the classic portrait lighting, and lighting for texture, etc... Even in classic pre-sets, their is variety in the ultimate composition. I still expect each student to "direct" the lighting and composition. They may use the same model, and even keep some of the light sets the same, but they need to be the director for their own design of they're stealing someone else's design. A student can be their own model and have someone else push the shutter button, if they designed the shot.
    This conversation was the perfect illustration.
    Thanks.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 04:22 am

    @teleman

    "I learned over many years that capturing truly outstanding candid shots is a far better way to record the event and provide the client with lasting memories..."

    I agree.

    I've noticed that most of the arguments center around posed shots and most don't seem to care about the snapshots, or candid shots. I'm beginning to wonder if this is due to some skill (or fear) deficiency on the part of the photog. Maybe they lack the skill to be able to take pics outside of a controlled environment...?

  • Teleman May 27, 2011 04:11 am

    I totally agree with Mike. They own everything I shoot at their event, period. If space aliens land in the reception area, the client owns the shot.

    Don't get me wrong, I do not tolerate rudeness from guest shooters and I'm not afraid to ask them to wait a couple of seconds. But I also realize that my client invited them as honored guests and they have more of a right to enjoy themselves than I do getting my jollys "creating art". Any photographer who threatens to pack up and leave over a couple of guest snaps is a terrible photographer - period!

    I learned over many years that capturing truly outstanding candid shots is a far better way to record the event and provide the client with lasting memories. I'm not talking about snap shots. I set most of them up in my own subtle way, but I never interupt the flow of the day for more than a few moments for a shot. In my book it's not about art, it's about memories! If a shot makes the client smile and takes them back to the moment, that's what it's all about!

  • shri May 27, 2011 04:02 am

    Wow, I have been reading through both articles with interest and the comments which to some small extent, have been civil. These last two comments look to have really brought the level down.

    @adam - A few quick points... several people have pointed out legalese in terms of copyright and such. Here's something you seem to be missing when you say (I paraphrase)...' Didn't the client pay for the originals when they hired you?...'. What the client paid (OR did not pay for), is (and should be specified clearly in the contract itself). If having original .NEF (or .DNG or the Canon equivalent) files is important to the client, they should perhaps look for a photog that provides those, I am sure such photogs are out there. There is no 1 perfect business model that fits everyone. If Marty and Andy want to hang on to the originals, it is THEIR OWN business model so long as it is mutually agreed upon (and from the looks of it, is working for them). On a personal point of view, that will be my model as well.

    You seem to have come up with quite some list of disasters that could happen to the photog (and by extension to the raw files). From the business/workflow model that they describe, it appears that Andy and Marty seem to have taken quite a few precautions for safeguarding the photographs.
    Once again, if these safety measures are not sufficient for the client, they again have choices: hire a photog who give the negatives/raw files OR pay for and buy as many physical prints as makes them comfortable and distribute them in different places geographically themselves OR make multiple copies of the DVD with the JPEGs and similarly distribute them.

    I can't understand what's so hard to get about a particular photog arriving at a business model that works for them based upon their / client's / market needs.
    Maybe it is time for the bride / groom / families to take a little bit of the responsibility in choosing how best to preserve the pro photos/memories from what is clearly a very important day for them.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 04:02 am

    @Mindy

    "I will pack up my toys and go home."

    Does that include your pacifier?

  • Adam May 27, 2011 04:00 am

    @Marty

    Again. Silly example/analogy... it's not the same thing.

    Point is the client has already paid you for the images, your time, etc. You've gotten your pound of flesh from them but you'd still charge them $100 for a DVD that costs you no more than 50 cents?

    Furthermore you dictate what they can and can't do with images they paid for (twice if you got your way). Does GM dictate what you can and can't do with the car you bought from them?

    And please do not cite copyright law. I get that you own the image the second you take it even if you being paid to take it. But just because the law is on your side does not make it right.

    If your under no legal obligation (contract) to keep client images for a specific period of time then delete them at your leisure. I never suggested that you had to keep them or even that you should. I assumed that you do simply because it's just good practice to keep such things if for nothing else then to reference later.

  • Marty May 27, 2011 03:26 am

    @ Adam, no, I don't sit here waiting for some tragic event to hapen to profit from it. But whatever the reason, if someone wants a replacement set of prints then I will be charging for said set of prints. To put a price tag of $1000 a print is not a realistic figure, not for a wedding photograph anyway.

    How desperate somebody is for a replacement photograph would not come into my calculations, I could, but I don't think that is very ethical. And as for Mr Smith and his house fire. no doubt the insurance would be footing the bill for the replacement photographs, therefore the insurance company would be profiting from any discount i may or may not give to the client due to the circumstances.

    for arguments sake, lets say i dont care about additional re-sale of my images at a later date, then why bother keeping them anyway. lets say after not hearing from the client in 5 years, I decide to clear the space on my hard drives and shelf space from DVD's and get rid of the images. then when Mr Smith contacts me after his house has burned down I don't have the images any more to provide him with further copies. what then?

    as I have said previously, If a client wants a replacement DVD of the images, that can be provided at a relatively cheap price. todays market price of £100 for 100 or so digital images (with unlimited non commercial licence) is not excessive for. (i paid $125 for half a doz 8x10 plus DVD from Discovery Cove this year).If they want 40 or 50 mounted 8x10 images then the time and effort to print those images maintaining image quality through the print run. you may use budget paper and a cheap CISS but I certainly do not work in that price range. I use the best papers and inks with custom calibrations for the best possible colour reproduction. I spend a lot of money on my equipment making sure that the images are the best I can produce...

    Most of my bookings come from word of mouth and the quality of my work speaks for itself. Many clients want my services based on what they have seen before and want to enjoy that same quality of professionalism and final output. in-fact, I have done the wedding photos for an entire family (3 sisters & 2 brothers) and after each wedding, the mother and farther of the bride have requested a new album to contain the photos from each of the weddings as well as christenings and babies first photos. Price is never the issue, the quality of the work is. As they have been a very good customer, If a replacement was required then I would probably do the replacement at a discounted price as they have been a very good source of revenue, but I certainly would not cheapen my work by doing it too cheap.

    There are a million different business models you can use for your own photography business. If you choose to hand over everything including copyright then that is up to you. that's your choice. If you don't than that is also your choice. To attack someone for that is just wrong. If you feel that handing over everything is a selling point you need then that's it entirely up to you. If a client was to insist on owning the copyright of the images that I produce for them then that is something that will reflect in the price I charge for that image.

    As a photographer, I am in the business of selling Images and that is what I will continue to do.

    If you don't like my analogy of a car supplier, then consider this one.

    After the recent devastation caused by the tornadoes in the Southern, Midwestern, and North-eastern United States. A terrible disaster. many people lost there lives, or how about after Hurricane Katrina. people lost everything, including their lives which cannot be replaced. But after the clear up has taken place and the rebuilding takes place. Do the local builders replace those homes at a discounted price because of the circumstance that led to that loss? I doubt it and you will be paying a premium to get the builders to come to you ahead of others.

    like it or not, we live in a capitalist society and the price of a product is dictated by market forces. If you don't like it then I am sure there are plenty of communist countries still around that will welcome you.

  • Mike Thorsen May 27, 2011 03:18 am

    I feel that if you take an unsolicited photo, then offer it for sale to the person or company that is the subject, then the rights are still yours. If someone comes to you and hires you to take photos for them, then they own the rights to those photos. After all, the contractor that you hired to build your house does not own any residual rights to it does he?

  • Mindy May 27, 2011 03:10 am

    The fact of the matter is that photographers are screwed over, if you'll excuse the slang, every time someone snaps a snapshot over our shoulders. We lose eye contact with our subjects, and then receive complaints that "Jim is looking away." Our slave units go off because of Uncle Bob's flash, and we lose the lighting on our next shot. Or, most typically, the client does not purchase our image because Uncle Bob's crappy version is "good enough."

    The practice of allowing this to happen has several unfortunate results:
    1 - wedding photography costs increase, because photographers have to charge enough to cover the prints they aren't selling due to the snap shooters.
    2 - photographers choose not to do weddings for this reason and there are fewer creative, skilled wedding photographers available.
    3 - snap shooters become more and more intrusive, rude and bold because no one calls them on the behaviour.

    My solutions have been to stop taking many wedding commissions, and to advise clients in consultation and in contract that if any other amateur or professional photographer begins to shoot over my shoulder, I will pack up my toys and go home. Clients who value my vision and quality of work have never complained about this.

    Of course, at a wedding or event you can give guests a decent period of time to make pictures before you begin, and then make a friendly announcement to the effect of "On behalf of Mark and Jennifer, I invite you to now relax with some beverages while we make the wedding portraits. If you want one last snapshot before we begin, please shoot now, and then we ask for privacy until Mark and Jennifer rejoin you at the reception."

  • Adam May 27, 2011 01:58 am

    @Teleman

    Dude, you rock. You set a great example and other photogs should take notes from you.

  • Teleman May 27, 2011 01:36 am

    One more thing - I sign the copyright over to them so they own the photos. All I ask is that they give me the right to reporduce them for my portfolio and for promotional pieces (which I rarely need as almost all of my work comes by word of mouth). This formula has worked for many years and I have more work than I could ever handle. In my opinion, any other formula is unconscionable!

  • Teleman May 27, 2011 01:29 am

    I give everyone I shoot for copies of the raw files and tell them they are free to do whatever they wish with them. They hired me to shoot an event and I was paid fairly for it. I will keep a copy too and if they ever have a disaster I will happily make another disk for free. We all need to remember that setting up the shot is about 10% of what you actually see. The client provided the subjects, venue, clothing, food, flowers... It's time to get down off our high horse as photographers and admit that we really document what others have created in most cases. Do we make it look better? Absolutely. Will some of the snap shots taken by guests capture something spontaneous that I missed? Absolutely. As long as the other guests don't ruin the photos the client hired me to take, I say go for it. If they get a photo that's even better than mine - great! All that matters is that the client is happy.

  • Adam May 27, 2011 12:38 am

    @Marty

    The fact that you sit there wring your hands waiting for tragedy to strike one of your former clients so you can profit from their tragedy makes you a douchebag. It's not an insult, it's a statement of fact based on what you've said.

    Your car part example/analogy is so off base (comparing car parts to priceless [to them] photos of someone's one of a kind wedding) that I won't respond to it past this sentence.

    *****

    "I'm really sorry to hear about your house fire Mrs. Smith. Of course I will be able to provide you with copies of you wedding pictures. I'll have to charge you a fee of course... lets see, yes based on my calculations to replace what you had originally, plus any additional prints you'd like to order at this time... I can get you your pictures back to you for $1000 a print. Yes, Mrs. Smith I know that's much more than what you paid originally but your obviously more desperate now considering you've just lost everything else and are desperately searching for something to hold on to.

  • Marty May 26, 2011 09:11 pm

    @ Adam,

    Oh well, your arguments where thought provoking and interesting until now. resorting to insults is never a good way to get your point across.

    As a processional photographer I am in this business primordially to make a living, put a roof over my families head and keep it there. My business model includes that I only supply images to the clients that I agree to at the time and keep hold of ALL of the originals. in party as a way to protect copyright and for possible future revenue. I don't see the problem with that. I put a lot of effort and time to make sure all of my works are safe from loss and if anyone requires a replacement then the time and effort to store that image is going to be taken into account. holding them hostage does not come into it at all.

    When Vauxhall (GM) built and sold me my car 10 years ago, did they decide to carry on making available spare parts just in-case I needed some and sell them to me at a reasonable price? no, They make and sell replacement parts because its profitable. Do they charge what the component is actually worth in terms of material cost? no they sell it for what they think they can get out of a customer. Do I like it? no, not really, and in most cases a third party company make after market parts and sell them at a fraction of the cost that the "genuine" parts cost.

    So to put that analogy into my business model, I photograph someone's wedding, they are happy with the results and buy a package of photographs from me including a DVD (in 8 x 10 print quality jpgs). 10 years later after a fire, they loose all the wedding photographs (including DVD which I advise them to keep in a separate location to the photos) and want replacements. for arguments sake I may have sold them a selection of photographs for £800. taking into account inflation and all costs involved in me keeping copies, the price tag on those replacement photographs could be £900 (or a lot less for just the DVD at £100) also consider that ten years later ink, paper and printer technology WILL have improved and the photos WILL BE BETTER QUALITY than the ORIGINAL supplied images** Maybe an adjustment to a lower price would be considdered depending on the number of referrals I have had through that client ( I do keep track of referrals***). . They then have the choice of either paying for the replacement photo package or going around all the family and friends to see who still has copies of the photographs they took at the wedding.

    I could easy charge twice of 4 times as much for my replacement prints, or take into account that since the wedding they have become multi millionaires and price is no object so adjust my price accordingly. I could also assume insurance is paying for it and add an extra adjustment to that price tag. that would as you describe it make me a "douchebag". But no, I am in the professional photography business to make a living, In my opinion I believe I behave in a very ethical manner in both my business and personal life and have a reasonable lifestyle because of this. I have a client list that I get repeat custom from so they must be happy. I will not be made to feel embarrassed about making a living.

    ** replacement car parts are manufactured to a lesser tolerance than the original parts at manufacture and therefore are inferior to the original build quality of components.this is due to parts being manually fitted by a mechanic can be "jiggled about with or manually adjusted into place with a variable force assertion tool (a hammer)

    *** I keep track of referrals in the way of a family tree type thing so that all people in the referral chain are recignised

  • Adam May 26, 2011 09:22 am

    @Marty

    "In fact, you have just confirmed to me that retaining the originals could be very profitable and worth hanging on to."

    Screw civility... your attitude sickens me. In that single sentience you have just demonstrated what a complete and utter douchebag you are. Don't you dare include me in your sick and twisted plan to hold people's memories hostage.

  • Adam May 26, 2011 09:16 am

    @Andy Mills

    "I (and I’ve seen many other photogs say this) cannot trust the client to edit the RAW files to a reasonable standard, and I do not want any photos out there that could reflect badly on me because someone else has made a balls-up of editing them. This is protecting the image my business has, and again, not an ego thing."

    Maybe it's my own hang up but I can't get past this attitude as not being an ego thing.

    Can't they edit the jpgs that you'd give them in such a way that it would reflect badly on you? Can't you simply tell people that you didn't do that edit?

    How many people drive around with their cars looking like crap, dirty, dented, bumper stickers, etc, etc. Do you think that's the image that car manufactures intended their cars to convey. Certainly not. Does it hurt them? No.

  • Adam May 26, 2011 09:08 am

    @Marty

    Your right... my house fire example was a bad one in the way I described it. Better to say that for whatever reason the originals were not available to you but the client needed/wanted them for whatever reason.

    I agree that wedding pictures are priceless. I know this better than most. But they are priceless for the memory they offer to the couple... what value do they have to you a say year down the line after you've done the work? Ah, well you answered that question:

    "In fact, you have just confirmed to me that retaining the originals could be very profitable and worth hanging on to."

    Holding them hostage.

  • Andy Mills May 26, 2011 08:20 am

    @Adam

    I'd offer full resolution JPEG versions of edited files, but not the RAW files. At least not while I am still working as a photographer and able to supply replacements.

    I (and I've seen many other photogs say this) cannot trust the client to edit the RAW files to a reasonable standard, and I do not want any photos out there that could reflect badly on me because someone else has made a balls-up of editing them. This is protecting the image my business has, and again, not an ego thing.

    I have backups, and currently have off site backups as well with an online backup company (LiveDrive). I think with wedding photos, most images are supplied as part of the package just after the wedding, and any extras fairly soon after. Obviosuly they may need replacements after a disaster like fire or flooding, but I expect this isn't often.

    If I were doing weddings, I would put something in place that would make sure my clients were contacted and offered the "originals" if something were to happen to me.

  • Marty May 26, 2011 07:35 am

    @ Adam,

    its something that I never really thought of. But I as everything I own becomes the property of my wife after my death or if I survive her then everything I own becomes the joint ownership of my daughter and step daughter.

    As none of them are pro photographers or have any ambition in a photography (crime scene investigator & Dentist) business then maybe as part of finalising my estate and closing down my business I could contact all my clients, and offer to supply them the RAW/Negatives including the copyright for a reasonable price. If they decline then they will have the contact details for the copyright holder (my offspring) in-case they want copies in the future.

    I think though, even if another pro photographer (my sister maybe) were to manage my copyrighted works on behalf of my estate, then whatever they charge for copies is up to them. I could insist that if copies are required then the cost should be no more than 10% above current market value. There are plenty of options. I bet you a pound to a penny, if replacements are required due to a fire, then I can almost guarantee that the disk of RAW files or the negatives will be stored in the box with the photo album and all will be lost. If replacements were available then forgetting the fact that the insurance will be paying anyway, the value of those photographs is what they are worth to the client, which is WAY WAY above market value. I would certainly pay 3 or 4 times(plus the rate of inflation) what I originally paid for my wedding album if I ever needed it replacing...

    In fact, you have just confirmed to me that retaining the originals could be very profitable and worth hanging on to.

  • Adam May 26, 2011 06:58 am

    @Marty

    It's good that you have backups but let me be more blunt when I ask this - what if you die? Is the person who will be in control of your estate under any legal obligation to continue a relationship with your clients the same way you would?

    What if a after your death a client goes to the person(s) in control of your estate seeking copies of the images because they lost their originals in a house fire (adn they don't have backup). What if that person refuses to give them copies, or requests an exuberant fee? Are your clients just screwed then?

    As far as giving the RAW files to the client being to risky - because they could claim ownership - I'm sure that a clever lawyer could write a contract that would mitigate (if not eliminate) that risk. If it even is one...

  • Marty May 26, 2011 06:27 am

    @Adam.

    Maybe I am just stuck in my ways, but going back to the days of film, I would NEVER hand over the negatives to a client (unless the contract was to include the negatives), and I see the RAW files as those same negatives. Ultimately if it ever came to litigation over unlicensed use of my images I can always default to "do you have the negatives/RAW" if they tried to claim it was their image. Its so easy these days to rip out the meta data and replace it with your own.

    And as for keeping a copy of files off site. My sister and brother-in-law (who also are pro photographers) keep my off site backups and likewise I keep theirs. I set up the backup system myself. As images are copied off the memory cards, they are stored on my server (RAID1) and then duplicated onto the remote server (also RAID1) both servers run nightly backups to tape on a 7 day rotation of tapes. Photographs are also saved on to DVD's or sets of DVD's after each day of shooting. memory cards are only cleared when the images are copied to both remote & local servers plus verified with a MD5 hash. I take my backups and file security as serious as I take my photography.

  • David May 26, 2011 06:18 am

    @Adam

    Photos are not work for hire, because the photographer (in the wedding context at least) is not an employee but an independent contractor. The work for hire doctrine also would mean that the photographer/employee does not own the copyright of the work but instead the copyright owner is the employer. (17 USC 201(b))

    I also agree, that giving away the original files does not transfer copyright to the client. What the client can do with those files are still technically subject to the license agreement that was agreed to before hand. Though a court may see giving the originals to the client as some sort of implied license to do something with the files (but I doubt it in the context of commercial use). Copyright transfers need to be done in writing. (17 USC 204)

    I want to point out that no one owns an idea. Ideas are public domain. Copyright is about protecting a work of authorship that has been fixed in a tangible medium. If I see your picture and slavishly copy it to try and replicate the original that may be copyright infringement. But taking a shot over your shoulder, as you take yours is not copyright infringement. It certainly may be rude. Especially if the other person tries to steal the attention of the photographs subjects. But rudeness is not protected by law.

    The idea of using a heart shaped chalkboard is not copyrightable. Using that idea in a new situation is not protectable by copyright law.

    @Erin
    You are correct.

  • howard May 26, 2011 05:35 am

    I understand your frustration. At my daughter's wedding the Professional hired by my daughter was blocked by the mother of the groom with her Canon Rebel. The video is likewise filled with the back of her head stepping into the shot. Common courtesy calls for defferance to the Professional hired to capture the moment. Although a special price was negotiated for an album for her they chose to use her pictures instead. This meant less profit for the professional.

  • Adam May 26, 2011 04:38 am

    @Marty

    You can give the RAW files to the clients without forfeiting your rights to use them how you want... even if you put them in the public domain, you'd still be able to them how you want. I'm not suggesting that you transfer your copyright to the client... just that you give them the files and permission to use them how they want since they paid you to take them. Maybe license them under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. I'm not sure how it would negativity affect you to give the clients all the images and permission to use them.

    It may be bad business practice to not update current and past clients with new contact info but it happens... I'm glad to know that you backup (off-site is good) but what happens if you get hit by a bus? Does anyone else know how to access client files? Do they know about the backup? Would they give the clients their files if they ask?

  • Marty May 26, 2011 04:09 am

    oh, and i mean PPI not DPI.... my bad !

  • Marty May 26, 2011 04:05 am

    @ Adam. My camera produces images at 240 DPI so the only time I alter this is to downscale for screen. and by the RAW images I mean the unedited .NEF files produced by my camera or more recently the .DNG files I converted them to.

    I will prefer to keep the raw files and only provide JPGs on disks on a unlimited non commercial licence to the clients. If I were to hand over everything or transfer the copyright to the client then I give away my right to use those photographs on my website or in a portfolio of my work.

    I learned a long time ago doing freelance work that you only provide the files to your client as specified in the contract or to specify the file details that you are going to provide prior to accepting the contract.

    also, I keep two copies of all my photographs, one of which is kept off site. Its also very bad business practice not to keep your contact details constant. If you move office or change phone number then send every one of your past clients a card with the new contact details. Just call it an expense of moving and somthing to consider before you do so.

  • Adam May 26, 2011 02:33 am

    @Marty

    "The RAW images will remain my property.”

    Why not give them those to? I know that most people won't know what to do with RAW images (presuming that when you say RAW you mean the file format and not just the unedited pics) but didn't they kinda pay for them too? What happens if you get hit by a bus, or the building with your computer in it burns down, or you move away and your clients are unable to get a hold of you?

    Seems to me that it benefits all parties to give the client everything. Give them the images as captured from the camera, give them the PSDs of your edits/touch-ups, the full res jpgs, everything... why not?

    @All

    How many of you have (or do) considered releasing your images under a Creative Commons (creativecommons.org) license?

  • Adam May 26, 2011 02:24 am

    @Marty

    "I would also include a CD (jpgs) of all of the photos (that ore of usable quality) that have been formatted suitable for on-line use like email or facebook. (72 dpi 15cm x 12cm) and for print quality (240 dpi 30cm x 25cm ) at an additional cost. The RAW images will remain my property."

    Isn't 300 dpi the minimum that can be considered "print quality"?

  • Kathleen May 25, 2011 10:53 pm

    You have certainly given me pause to consider, I am an avid digital scrapbooker, I try to leave the "professional" shots to the professional that my family has hired, & be out of the way when I am shooting my 'family' shots. I am by NO stretch of the imagination a very good photographer ~ it's just NOT wired in my genes, but I can take a moment that I know will be important to the couple or family member that once I scrap it & journal it I am thanked profusely...these are usually moments that are missed by a professional because they do not know the personal relationships within the extended family. (The Aunt that is struggling with cancer, the nephew that is the brides godson, the moment Uncle Clyde is going to put a glass on his head & dance the Russian Strut (or at least attempt to). I love your idea about the heart shaped chalk boards, but I doubt I would ever remember to bring something like that along. Though I do have one of those film clicky thingys...hmmm ideas are running through my mind now for camp counselor pictures (one week to rememeber dozens of names-I usually photograph them with a pad of paper in front of their faces...looks terrible...gonna have to remember your idea (or is that stealing...seriously let me know) *U* Kathleen

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 10:36 pm

    @lycoming

    "With DSLR cameras becoming so cheap, I’d say that paying a photographer to do wedding pics is a thing of the past. You can get just what you want from simply asking wedding guests to send you any pictures they take as a wedding gift."

    That is very risky though - the bride & groom won't be guaranteed that anyone will snap the important shots they want. Even if they do get the "important" shots, there's no guarantee that they will be of good quality. But I guess it's as I said earlier, not everyone values photography, so snapshots may be good enough for some.

    My cousin asked me to do his wedding last year. As he now lives in a different country I just couldn't get over there to do it. I don't know if he managed to get someone or not, but the photos I have seen are terrible - for example, outdoor shots taken in afternoon harsh sunlight, they both have harsh shadows where their eyes should be and so on. There was barely one "nice" photo. Yes, they have a record of the day, but I'm not sure those photos will be looked at as much, or with as much joy/fondness or whatever better photos would bring.

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 10:18 pm

    @adam

    Copyright: Yes, it is 70 years for artistic works and/or photographs. I don't know why I put 75.

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 10:13 pm

    @mattg

    I don't think that's really workable. The only people who could call for a blanket ban on photography at a wedding is the bride and groom, but I can't see any doing that (unless they're on the run from the law or something...), and I would suspect that the photographer who demands this won't get much work. If any.

  • Marty May 25, 2011 08:41 pm

    After reading through all the comments it has in some ways opened my eyes to some aspects to wedding photography but also I believe some people are just far too upperty to be a photographer at a wedding. You have to remember, its not just the bride and grooms big day !! consider the mother and farther of the bride who traditionally are paying for the wedding and your wages!

    Saying that, it has made me think and re-evaluate how I work as a photographer at a wedding.

    First of all, while in consultation with the clients I would make it clear that I need a certain amount of space to work if they want the best possible photographs. I will explain that lately it has become a problem with people at weddings taking photographs getting in the way of the professional photographer particularly jumping up to take photos as the bride walks down the isle making it impossible for the pro to get his shot that they are paying for. I would ask if they had a wedding planner or a master of ceremony to make the guests aware of this and to give me a reasonable amount of space to work in. for example, If a guestographer were to get closer than 3 metres to the side of me or in front of me, them my assistant would politely ask them to re-position themselves. If they constantly broke the boundaries I would have my assistant take it up with the wedding planner or the Master of Ceremony (or whoever is coordinating the event) shooting over my sholder will not be welcomed. and if someone was stood behind me, I would make a point in zooming out (stepping backwards) into the guestographer standing on his toes and see how he likes it.... it wont take too many zoom outs to get rid of them.

    If I was to take any photographs like with the chalk boards or any other prop, I would find a suitable private place in the venue area to take these photographs where its impossible for someone to stand over my shoulder. If they attempted it, I would inform them that they are casting shadows or blocking the light. If there was space, I would go as far as setting up portable studio kit, the reflectors and softboxes would be enough to keep the guestographers out of the way.

    If anyone wants to take any photographs, so long as its not interfering with my work-flow then they are free to do so.

    as far as extra prints of the event goes, this market is dead, so I will be looking to make my wages from the actual shoot and the wedding album itself. Its all well and good having professional quality prints done, but for auntie Agnes to have copy of a picture in her album of family weddings, a home print will be perfectly fine and I would not expect the happy couple to pay a premium price for a picture to sit in a album on a shelf.

    I would fix a price to shoot the wedding and then additional prices depending on the size and quality of the wedding album.7x5, 8x10 and a3 prints, I would pre-set how many of these I will do BEFORE the event as a package deal. I would also include a CD (jpgs) of all of the photos (that ore of usable quality) that have been formatted suitable for on-line use like email or facebook. (72 dpi 15cm x 12cm) and for print quality (240 dpi 30cm x 25cm ) at an additional cost. The RAW images will remain my property.

    there are a few other things that I would do but I am not having you lot steal my workflow lol..

  • Adam May 25, 2011 02:48 pm

    @mattg

    Restricting photography by guests for posed sessions and asking them to hold off till the hired photog gets specific shots is acceptable in my opinion to allow the hired photog to do their job but I don't think a complete ban on photography by guests would work out to well for the photographer or their clients.

    I'd imagine potential clients walking out once they saw that provision in the contract... well maybe not since people don't tend to read the fine print. But I can imagine that if the photog choose to enforce the ban he/she would have angry clients in his/her hands and spend a lot of time in litigation.

  • Adam May 25, 2011 02:40 pm

    @Andy Mills

    "I know you may be leading me somewhere with this, but the simple answer is: Yes. As long as it was also OK with the bride and groom."

    Not leading anywhere, I was just curious is all. Glad you'd let me :)

    As far as prints - I suspect that like you said the market for prints is not what it used to be. I imagine that (at lest younger) couples want digital copies they can post on their FB, etc. and maybe only a couple of prints to hang on the wall...

    I generally think (based on what I've seen) that the prices for prints that photographers charge is a bit high. Even if the price can be justified by the printing processes, paper used, etc. I don't think most people care. Nor do I think that most people could tell the difference between a professionals print and one made at a 1 hour photo. I have my doubts a pro would be able to tell in a blind test... but lets not start another debate :)

  • MattG May 25, 2011 11:05 am

    Whilst it has been interesting reading the comments, I have noticed that little has been proposed as effective solutions. I thought I might throw an idea out there

    These comments demonstrate some of the changes that are occurring in the wedding scene and therefore the documenting of these. It is difficult to see a Bride or Groom refusing the option of having more photos with no potential cost added to them, so asking guestographers to not take photos across the whole event is not practical under current arrangements. The main method I have seen to curb the tail riding is to restricting guestographers through pre-arranged windows of opportunity, i.e. allowing photos of the signing of the register after the pro shots are completed. With the after wedding print market so relatively expensive and slow in comparison to friends/relative producing no restriction CDs of photos from the wedding, there is an incentive to a B & G to ignore the guest behaviour (should they even notice).

    Perhaps wedding photographers need to consider a different model? I would propose a blanket photography ban for all guests and only official shots allowed for a fee paid by the photographer with penalty clauses included should it be broken (i.e. if Uncle Bob insists on taking photos with their DSLR, then B & G not only refund money to the photographer but also pay an agreed amount). This would encourage the bride and groom to ensure that the event is only documented by the professional photographer and provide a larger market for after event sales. There is greater risk for the photographer, but potentially greater reward and a cleaner working environment. If this doesn't suit, then continue doing the same but accept that there are compromises.

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 10:10 am

    @adam

    "I would think that most guests are not out to try to undermine, or undercut the pro. Someone said it before - the culture has changed, everyone is a photographer these days. Some are just better than others"

    Of course not (trying not to undermine that is).

    It does depend on how the photographer presents his or her packages, their business model, but one copy of most images would be included with that (either in an album, and/or on a CD, etc). There is still a chance where a couple would normally order an extra copy of an image for their parents, or Aunt/Uncle or someone, that they may use a guests' version instead and print it out instead of buying from the professional (there is still a market for prints, especially where older people are concerned, although not as large as it used to be). Not everyone can tell a good photo from a bad one, and sadly (as appears to be the case in the UK), not everyone values photography that much.

    I had an argument about print prices with my Aunt not long ago, where I said "so you'd be happy with a snapshot then?" She simply said "yes". Maybe she needs "educating" and shown the difference it could make, but this isn't always possible. It didn't seem to matter to her that the snapshot may not be properly exposed, the subject(s) has red eye or something sticking out of their head(s), etc.

    "Let me ask you this - if we were at a wedding, me as a guest with my D90 and you as the hired photog and I asked you if I could be around when you did the posed session, not to try to capture what you are but to get what you can't see from you vantage point, to get behind the scenes type shots, you adjusting the brides hair, stuff like that, and I promised to stay out of the way and leave the second you asked me to if I was being a distraction... would you let me?"

    I know you may be leading me somewhere with this, but the simple answer is: Yes. As long as it was also OK with the bride and groom.

    Why? Because you asked. If you just jumped in without asking, then I might get annoyed, especially after being asked to wait until we were done with the private session.

    And you demonstrated that you have at least a basic awareness of what's going on and hopefully won't make a nuisance of yourself. If there was time, I might also help you and give you some tips. Who knows, you may also be able to help and hold a reflector or something. Obviously there may be times when it may not be not possible, perhaps there's a lack of space or something. I believe that many professionals would do the same.

  • Adam May 25, 2011 08:40 am

    @Andy Mills

    To you last comment:

    I think that we agree as well...

    Maybe I should clarify.. say it a different way. I am in no way trying to belittle the work that a pro photog puts into making a good shot and if you read what I wrote here and in the previous post you'll see that I wrote that it's wrong for anyone to intentionally take advantage of the photog's work by trying to get the same picture.

    I do think that the intention of the guest photog plays a big part. Certainly there may be a guest who sees an opportunity to jump start their photography carrier by "riding your coat tails" and taking pictures of the posed shots. It would certainly be wrong for this guest photg to pass the work off completely as their own since the pose, or setup does play a role in how the picture turns out. In that case I can see how you could say they are "stealing" your work. However if the intention was to just use them for private study (I learn by seeing how it's done) or even to just give them to the B&G while giving attribution to the setup to the photog. Then I don't think it's the same issue. Again, I think that any shutterfly should have the self respect to not try to get the same shot (as the hired photog at a wedding) but in the end it does seem like a silly thing for a professional photog to worry about. But as has been pointed out before I'm not a pro and so my perspective may be flawed.

    I would think that most guests are not out to try to undermine, or undercut the pro. Someone said it before - the culture has changed, everyone is a photographer these days. Some are just better than others.

    Let me ask you this - if we were at a wedding, me as a guest with my D90 and you as the hired photog and I asked you if I could be around when you did the posed session, not to try to capture what you are but to get what you can't see from you vantage point, to get behind the scenes type shots, you adjusting the brides hair, stuff like that, and I promised to stay out of the way and leave the second you asked me to if I was being a distraction... would you let me?

  • Adam May 25, 2011 08:12 am

    @Elizabeth Halford

    "I really don’t see what wasn’t understandable about this post. As for the “should I give you credit when I use a chalkboard” comment, that’s not at all what I said. :) I said if a guest at the wedding had taken my shot, I would have felt slighted."

    You may or may not be referring to the comment I made:

    "If I were to use the caulk board idea in a wedding then would that be bad? Should I give Elizabeth attribution for the idea, and how? Elizabeth herself said that the idea isn’t original to her, yet she used it without attributing it to the person she got the idea form. Many of the poses and lighting techniques that photogs on the other post claimed they owned are not their original idea, or are at least derivative of other photgs work. Where do you draw the line?"

    I made that to illustrate what I thought the point of this post is - where do you draw the line when your talking about ownership of this and that. I think that you post is clear but the issue is not and is largely a matter of opinion.

    Should you feel slighted if a guest had taken your shot? I don't think so. What would the act of a guest taking a picture take away from you (assuming they were not interfering)? Now, if they then took their picture and posted it on FB or otherwise showed it to the B&G before they saw your shot then yes I'd understand if you felt slighted because that would ruin your surprise (you said the B&G did not know this was going on). Of course that assumes that the guest photog knew that what you were doing was meant to be a surprise.

    Say I'm a budding pro photog and I go to a wedding your shooting. Without a camera I go around and watch what you do. I watch the posed session, etc., etc. I realize that there is one pose, or shot setup that you do that I like so I make a careful mental note of it. Later when I'm being paid to shoot a wedding I use that "your" pose... would you feel slighted then?

    What if I browsed through your site and started posing my subjects the same way (or similar0 to the way you do? Isn't this what pro photogs do anyway? Isn't your setup just a copy of, or modification of someone other photogs?

    Do you think that the photog that originally came up with placing people in front of a camera while they hold a chalkboard with a message written on it should feel slighted by you?

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 07:43 am

    @adam

    I think we are actually mostly agreeing, but somehow seem to be going round in circles. Sometimes certain things are not easy to get across satisfactorily via text.

    I do not disagree with the assertion on poses. They themselves can't be copyrighted (you can't copyright the way a person is standing. Or sitting. Or whatever), and there's not a pose that probably isn't in some way derivative of one or more that's been done before. I'm not disagreeing with taking photos off to the side, even if they may distract the couple.

    I also disagree (as I did in a previous post) with the person who said dSLRs shouldn't be taken to weddings by guests. A dSLR is "just" a camera - yes it should be possible to take a better photo with a dSLR than a point & shoot, but it's also possible to take terrible photos with them. No, it's the intent in how that camera, any camera (even a phone camera), is being used that I (and I believe most professional photographers at a wedding) would have any issue with.

    I'm not sure I can explain the concept of what I am trying to get across. It's not the pose itself, it is the effort into posing the happy couple, the experience in knowing how to get the best pose out of them. It's knowing where to place the couple (the best location), it's knowing that and ensuring that their clothes are straight, her hair and makeup is good. And so on. All this is part of the photographer's experience and knowledge, and it takes the photographer time to get this set up and right (even if it is a few minutes).

    Isn't it possible that when people take photos of the people in the shots that have been set up by the photographer (please note I did not say "posed" as there is more to setting up a shot with people in than just posing them) that those guests are taking advantage of the photographer's knowledge, experience and time and effort? Isn't it possible that if anything is being "stolen", it is the knowledge, experience, etc., that the photographer has built up over time? I am not saying it is being stolen, just possible. It is at the least being taken advantage of by guests who would not usually go to that effort.

    It has been mentioned before (I think I did), it is something many professionals do, and is something I would do - and that is to take the bride and groom away from the crowd for 20-30 minutes "private time". This gives the photographer chance to get any important shots of the B&G without worrying about anything/anyone else. It also gives the happy couple a bit of peace and quiet to let it soak in that they are finally married without being hassled by friends and family, and many appreciate this (even if the photographer and assistant is there too).

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 06:41 am

    @Elizabeth Halford
    I didn't think it was so, but the way it came across to me did have me confused for a moment.

  • Elizabeth Halford May 25, 2011 06:30 am

    No, I appreciate you all :) (well...most of you) lol. It's been pretty hard keeping up with hundreds of comments coming into my inbox. I have possibly crossed wires. If anyone has been sticking up for my post, thank you :)

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 06:25 am

    @Elizabeth Halford

    "As for other readers feeling the need to clarify what I meant…if what I wrote was not understandable, then how can it be clarified by anyone other than I? :) [...]"

    Because sometimes someone else can think of a better way of getting a point across. Something I, admittedly, seem to have failed miserably at.

    I know this is not personal but I'm not sure how I should take this comment of yours. Are you telling us to back off and let you fight your own battles?.Apologies if I have taken this the wrong way, but do you somehow feel insulted that I (for one) chose to argue in your favour and support your viewpoints?

  • mcguireuk May 25, 2011 05:40 am

    ^^^^ sorry... should really proof read first.... 'My comment last week WASN'T a direct attack on you.

  • mcguireuk May 25, 2011 05:38 am

    I just thought I'd put another reply to this message as I also took part in last weeks post. I would just like to say that my comment was a direct attack on you and I was merely playing 'devil advocate'. I actually like reading your post and have a lot to thank you for...

    Fitting with your subject of 'stealing' I stole your idea of a facebook page for photog's as an the ideal place to start my own business off.... And guess what it's now booming. So many thanks, I'm also a fan of your page and your work. Good job you live at the other end of the country though to avoid you stealing all my customers :)

    Keep up the good work and in response to your facebook update.... the writing.

  • Trudy May 25, 2011 04:31 am

    Some of the comments on this post and posts like this bother me. Unlike many people, my ego and self-esteem is healthy enough to where I don't view plagiarism or copyright infringement of my work as a compliment to me. Let's back up and examine the word "flattery" so that this can be settled once and for all because I am really tired of hearing this.

    I do not think that flattery is the same as a compliment. In fact, I think flattery is poison. Flattery is defined as excessive or insincere praise. So when I hear the cliché "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," I am not moved. (I really think that Charles Caleb Colton was making a dig at imitation itself when he wrote this and didn't mean that imitation is truly a compliment and something good. I think the original sarcasm is missed by most people.) People are focused on the word "sincerest" and not the word "flattery" and are interpreting the cliché incorrectly. What that phrase actually means is imitation is the purest form of being insincere. It's not a complement. And the culture of self-indulgence is to the point where people think being exploited is "nice" because the focus of the exploitation is on them and their need for attention. It's not nice. A true compliment is respect for another person's work and admiration of what it takes for them to create it. People do not copy and take work because you are 'so awesome' in many instances. They do it because they need an image and because they can.

    "I don't know what it means to be dramatically new. There's no new ideas in the world..there's only new arrangements of things." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson. So while there is no new thing under the sun, there are new arrangements and expressions that can be made by each person versus standing behind someone, taking their exact shot then posting it within 5 minutes and disrespecting the hired photographer.

    I liked this post Elizabeth as well as your previous one. I understood what you meant and I do not think you were rude in any way. The culture of weddings has changed and guests are no longer smiling guests gazing at brides but people who want to capture the moment too, which is ok. As long as there is respect between you and the guests and they recognize when you should be working and when they can get a few shots, I think things can be ok. I agree with your position on the chalkboard images as well. Calm and respect are needed in situations like these. Also, doing some some of the wedding creative work in private like you mentioned may be a solution as well.

    Great writing and love the images you shared.

    (PS, I listened to the most recent Going Pro 2010 podcast and Skip and Scott discussed copyright and provided some resources for doing more research on it. Also, MIT Opencourseware has a free copyright class that can be downloaded for clarification of what is protected, what is not and difference between patents, copyrights, trademarks and more and even goes into the actual laws and what not.)

  • Elizabeth Halford May 25, 2011 04:23 am

    Hi all. Have only just had the pleasure of sitting down to read these comments. Thank you again for reading.

    I really don't see what wasn't understandable about this post. As for the "should I give you credit when I use a chalkboard" comment, that's not at all what I said. :) I said if a guest at the wedding had taken my shot, I would have felt slighted.

    As for other readers feeling the need to clarify what I meant...if what I wrote was not understandable, then how can it be clarified by anyone other than I? :) Please feel free to ask me to clarify anything you did not understand. I would be very happy to write back.

  • Adam May 25, 2011 04:02 am

    @Andy Mills

    Oh, I'm not saying it's not rude or that it's right. I would not try to copy what the hired photog was doing. It does not make sense to me to do so because I see more value in getting what he/she is not and as a guest who's not under pressure to do a job I may have opportunities the hired photog does not.

    What I'm arguing against is the assertion that one can own a pose and that I'd be in the wrong for say standing off to the side and taking pictures of a posed session where my goal would be to get the "behind the scenes" of it all and not copy the hired photog. I'm arguing against the assertion that I'm an ass (as a commentator in the previous called me) for owning a DSLR and not being a pro. What I'm arguing against is the assertion that I don't have a right to take pics of what a "pro" is taking a picture of.

    Would I hover over your shoulder to get the same shot as you? No. Would I barge in on Elizabeth's chalk board session trying to get the same shot? No. I know some people would and some people would have no issue getting in your way and that's not ok. But it's also not ok to use irrational arguments like "I own this pose" to convey why you need people to not barge in on a posed session or get in your way.

    Besides, isn't it hypocritical to say people are stealing your shot, or pose, etc? Can you prove that a particular pose you use is 100% completely original to you?

  • Matt May 25, 2011 03:21 am

    @Andy

    I didn't think your comment was condescending or offensive. You clarified what the author was trying to say. I have no idea what "sarcy" means, but I assumes its not positive. I don't think I was being "sarcy", just truthful. For someone to try twice to get a point across and missed it so completely for quite a large number of readers tells me they should probably give up this argument and move on to something else. Afterwards I took a look at her website and its strange to see that a photographer who is obviously very skilled at what she does can come up with a statement and 2 articles defending that statement that are so different from reality. For someone to say that any pose, shot, whatever is uniquely theirs and that anyone who takes a photo over their shoulder has no right to the image that they took; that they cannot even claim the photo that they took with their own camera as there own, its just insane.

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 03:02 am

    @adam

    Just a quicky to say that my last reply came after your last one (I was writing mine when you posted yours, if that makes sense).

    This may be a cultural thing, it may be because I am in the UK and you are in the US(?), and what we both find acceptable, rude, or whatever is just different.

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 02:59 am

    @adam

    I know their photos will be at least "slightly" different - my point (that I am trying to make) is where the guest is trying to copy the professional and get the same shot. Yes, they are very unlikely to get anything exactly the same, and as I have already said, as the professional, his/her photos should be better regardless, so the professional should not be worried about the "competition".

    I know you can't copyright a pose, etc., but the professional has created that pose and the guest is still using that pose that the photographer put the effort into.

    The photographer may not mind you doing this, but to do so without least asking is just plain rude and unfair to the photographer.

  • Adam May 25, 2011 02:41 am

    @Andy Mills

    Anyway copyright does not even play into this issue. You cannot copyright a pose, scene, or shot. On;y the picture you take. Maybe you could Trademark a pose if you could show that it was representative of you or your business in some way... but that would be difficult I think.

    The question here s if it's right to take a picture of posed shots at a wedding and I don't think we'll ever have a definitive answer on that. It's a matter of opinion.

  • Lycoming May 25, 2011 02:37 am

    Being a professional, paid photographer, does not mean you necessarily have more skill/a better creative eye than others. You just have the desire/patience to make photography your business.

    It doesn't mean you'll take the best shots, and it doesn't mean that you 'deserve' any one style of shot more than someone else.

    With DSLR cameras becoming so cheap, I'd say that paying a photographer to do wedding pics is a thing of the past. You can get just what you want from simply asking wedding guests to send you any pictures they take as a wedding gift.

    Ideas are owned, yes, but methods to capture something that everyone can see, are definitely not.

  • Adam May 25, 2011 02:33 am

    @Andy Mills

    "Copyright lasts for 75 years from the end of the year of the death of the author. Seeing as most of the masters died a long time ago, their works will now be out of this restriction, so it is legal to copy them. It’s just not legal to pass them off as originals."

    It's actually 70 years after the authors death and works made for hire or anonymous works the copyright lasts 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

    I'd suspect that wedding pictures would be considered "works for hire" and so would be subject to the 95-120 year rule (depending on if they were published).

    see:

    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf

    http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter0/0-a.html#3

    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 02:28 am

    @matt

    I had a look back at my comment to you, and I apologise if I came across as condescending or something, but there really is no need for such a sarcy reply.

  • Adam May 25, 2011 02:20 am

    @Andy Mills

    "The issue that is being argued is where the photographer uses their expertise/knowledge, time and effort to set up a posed shot, only for someone to come along and to take a “copy” of it from where you (the hired photographer) are standing."

    That's where the logic the whole "they are copying my shot" argument is flawed. How can I be standing in the same spot that you (the hired photog) if you're standing there?

    I can't and so any picture I take would therefore be (at least slightly) different than yours. The subject is the same but the shot is inherently different so unless you can argue that you own the subject...

  • Kragom May 25, 2011 01:51 am

    Thank you for both your posts, both of which I enjoyed. I hope you ignored the replies from some people, well not ignored, but ignored to be offended. The subject of "stealing" is an interesting one, and not at all without interpretation differences. People being offended by your last post are the people who should comment less on the internet, or really try to understand what other people mean instead of trumpeting their haughty convictions and interpretation of what you mean. In fact, I feel like hiring you without having an event, just to oppose such people ;P

    But they do good as well obviously. They allow us to have such a discussion as this! ;)

  • Anne I May 25, 2011 01:28 am

    I agree with you about the irritation of people copying the paid photographer's shots at a wedding. Last year I assisted at a wedding where two aunts of the couple both had super professional cameras, and were shadowing the professional photographer every step of the way, taking the exact same shots he composed over his shoulder. He was calm and let them, but I know it was getting on his nerves, because every time he set up a shot, or posed the couple, the two women would quickly step in and take the shot. To me that is one of the rudest things I've ever seen. Yes, of course he will edit them better and they will turn out more professional than the ones taken by the two women, but to have every single shot copied is a bit galling. Sometimes I feel that people just don't know what's decent anymore. I understand that they want to take photos too, and they should, but I agree with someone else's comment, that the guests should rather take the photos where the couple cannot be, so that they get a holistic picture of their wedding later - after all, they ARE paying the professional photographer a whole lot of money - it should count for something. But anyways, this is just my opinion from having observed and assisted at quite a few weddings. Thanks for the post, Elizabeth!

  • Matt May 25, 2011 01:06 am

    @andy

    Wow, if that really was the point of the article, you are right. I missed it. So I think there are two very obvious takeaways from this whole thing. First, the author of the post should probably get out of the writing business, since after 2 articles she wasn't able to get this simple point across without the help of commenters like you to clarify it all. The second key takeaway is that the author should probably get out of the wedding photography business since she clearly cannot effectively manage other people or expectations; both of which are key skills for such a role.

  • Marcy May 25, 2011 01:04 am

    I thought about your post this weekend when I went to a wedding and, after the ceremony, walked past the photographer taking shots of the couple. He'd set up one photo of them holding up the marriage certificate...and I kid you not, there were 5 people *literally* shooting over his shoulder to get the same
    shot. I almost walked over & asked then to give the photographer some space!

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 12:23 am

    @marty

    "i think some people are going way over the top when it comes to the idea of stealing a shot.

    for instance, like in California, here in Blackpool we have a few piers. As a local photographer i have shot each and every one of of the piers from every angle along with the Blackpool Tower and promenade .[...]"

    Your example is about (relatively) static public scenes, you are on public land and have not been paid by someone to take these photos (or not very likely to have been paid). Unlike weddings, you can go back time after time to try and get a certain shot. Even if people get in your way here, you can't do much about it - especially where it's somewhere where they are just going about their daily business. If anything, there's a chance you could be getting in their way.

    I can see what you're getting at, but due to the circumstances, it's not really relevant to the point being made in this and the other post.

  • pz May 25, 2011 12:17 am

    I am amazed by the idea that some professional photographer would be offended by the notion of other people at the wedding taking pictures. You were hired because you are a better at photography than those people (presumably). The compositions of most wedding shots are so tired that they look like one and the same wedding time and time again. So, is that stealing as well? I think this is a dangerous argument to make and it comes very close to the music and movie industries' paranoias about "their" intellectual property.

  • Andy Mills May 25, 2011 12:04 am

    @matt

    "I agree that that seems to be what she is saying and that seems to be ridiculous. If I take a photo of something and someone else comes up behind me, takes the same photo of the same subject from the same angle, there is nothing wrong with that.[...]"

    I made this point on the other post - Elizabeth is on about the photo shots where it has been set up by the photographer, such as the hearts board idea she mentions as an example.

    You can't claim the opportunistic photos as yours, and that's not really what's being argued here (unless the other person is getting in your way and preventing you from doing your job). A wedding photographer has to accept that nearly every guest there will have some sort of camera on them, it's a fact of life these days, and you cannot stop them from taking snapshots.

    The issue that is being argued is where the photographer uses their expertise/knowledge, time and effort to set up a posed shot, only for someone to come along and to take a "copy" of it from where you (the hired photographer) are standing. The other person/guest is riding the coattails of the professional to get a shot that the professional has put the effort into, and the guest has put no effort into. Even photographing from another angle is not such an issue, just don't shadow the professional, trying to get exactly the same shots.

  • Andy Mills May 24, 2011 11:48 pm

    @Audra

    "Once upon a time, it was common place for students of fine art to “copy” the masters in order to learn technique"

    Copyright lasts for 75 years from the end of the year of the death of the author. Seeing as most of the masters died a long time ago, their works will now be out of this restriction, so it is legal to copy them. It's just not legal to pass them off as originals.

  • Marty May 24, 2011 10:14 pm

    i think some people are going way over the top when it comes to the idea of stealing a shot.

    for instance, like in California, here in Blackpool we have a few piers. As a local photographer i have shot each and every one of of the piers from every angle along with the Blackpool Tower and promenade .

    Now whenever have guests in our hotel and they show me a photo they have taken, in all probability, I have one more or less the same in my collection. Am I going to start screaming and shouting spitting my dummy out? no... in fact, I have a lot of my photos on display in our hotel and are for sale. Do I get grumpy if someone tries to re-create the shot? no. do I tell them what lens, what ISO, what aperture, what shutter speed, what filters and what post shutter processing I have done along with a lend of my printer and papers? no....

    I once had a guy spend all week trying to re-create one of my shots, and on his last day before going home he bought my print.

    With any style of photography or any shot you set up, if its any good it will be copied. The idea is to innovate and come up with new ideas to present your subject in your shot, become the trend setter and not the bitter old has been.... and if i see another wedding photo with the happy couple pasted into a wine glass or desaturated of all colour with exception to the flowers/rings (looks like a picture on the wall in kfc) i will scream....

  • Peter May 24, 2011 09:57 pm

    Very nice post(s), don't worry... no offense taken here. I totally agree with the 'concept' of your post(s). NIcely done.

  • Audra May 24, 2011 05:35 pm

    Once upon a time, it was common place for students of fine art to "copy" the masters in order to learn technique. I know that as an avid amateur hobbyist, I often find myself trying to recreate shots I admire in an effort to learn thru trial and error. But students (and other amateurs) aren't going to try to make any money of those learning experiences, and that's where a pro has to draw the line.

    One perspective I haven't seen mentioned here is that of the client's: If you've hired a professional for your event, you're paying good money for their expertise and skill, not just the finished product. As a customer, why would you want to shell out the dough for those intangibles only to have the random guest post a lo-res, crooked shot for her eleventy-billion contacts on facebook that you don't even know? And that being said, I think it's the event-planner's responsibility (in this day and age) to make that distinction clear. A simple statement attached to the invite can be worded respectfully and plainly, so that the professional photographer gets her space and the customer gets her money's worth.

  • Focx Photography May 24, 2011 02:44 pm

    I took some pictures alongside a very nice and open-minded indie wedding photographer, and instead of her complaining about "stealing" shots, we exchanged ideas. Other than that I can only fully agree with dr germ. But

  • Steve May 24, 2011 01:52 pm

    I just did a wedding and I took a shot of the the screen on the back of a camera as they were taking a shot of the couple. Take that guestographer! =P

  • Dr Germ May 24, 2011 12:48 pm

    Last thing I need at my wedding is a "larger than life" photographer. So how is there any surprise (or hurt) if potential clients decide based on what they read that on a day that's supposed to be all about them they don't want to deal with someone who seems to think it's all about her?

  • Erik Kerstenbeck May 24, 2011 10:34 am

    Hi

    This is one of the images that a local San Diego Photographer copied. He did not get the Marine Layer but it is the same shot, sameplace.

    I guess this is flattery?

    Hope he makes a million bucks on it like Peter Lik!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/piers-of-california/

  • Pete May 24, 2011 10:18 am

    Plenty of court cases have been won on this bases.

    "Plenty of cases" have been won on the basis of an idea having been stolen?

    Outside of patent (something you are exceedingly unlikely to get for a pose or framing of a particular shot), can you name a single one?

  • summerbl4ck May 24, 2011 07:09 am

    Wow, a lot of issues going on here and in the original post. Not sure I have much to add except that one of the last lines really says it all, I think: "In short, the best way to keep these things private is to do them in private." If you want to control the situation, then do what you can to control it. And then accept that other parts of the day will be more difficult to control. That seems to be the nature of this kind of photography.

  • Adam May 24, 2011 05:55 am

    @Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    "Ah, I forgot to mention that two weeks ago I had an actual wedding photograph stolen (screencapped from a slideshow on my site) and entered into a wedding photography contest on Facebook. The person running the contest contacted me because the photo won, so they did a rights search on it and thankfully my efforts to copyright my work paid off as I was found and the photo was taken out of the contest. I contacted Facebook directly and they shut down the page asap as well."

    Clearly that's not the same thing that the post speaks of - it's a direct copyright violation.

  • Adam May 24, 2011 05:50 am

    As one of the people who spoke against the post from last week let me say that what I was against was the idea that you literally own a pose, or lighting technique, etc. and that there is something that can be stolen from you.

    Quoting myself:

    "This post is a farce. I understand if someone is literary getting in your way and preventing you from doing your job. But unless you somehow own the copyright on a pose, lighting technique, or (like Tim said) the photons of light, what right do you have to tell someone they can’t take pictures?"

    This was the first comment I posed and was half directed at the post itself and half directed at some of the comments that were made up to that point. What followed was various "pro" photogs ranting about how they do own the poses they use and some even asserting that they own light itself.

    In one of my later comments I said that I felt it was not ok for someone (particularly another pro) to try to get the same shot that the hired photog is getting. I think I said it was ethically reprehensible to even try.

    Fact is you cannot own a pose, even the chalk board example given, someone could use that tomorrow and there isn't anything you could do about it (one thinks it's a bad idea to post such things on the Internet if your worried about copycats).

    Now, is it ethical for a guest at the wedding to take a pictures during the chalk board session, or other private session and then give those pictures to the B&G? Maybe, maybe not. I don't think it is. Even if your ok with it ethically, it's certainly not considerate of the photogs work to at least not wait till the B&G get the photogs pics first (in the case of the chalk board session which was a surprise). It would certainly not ethical to claim that the poses (or chalk board messages for example) were your idea if they were not.

    I think that you'd be justified in being upset and maybe feeling a bit "robbed", if someone took pictures of something like the chalk board session and gave them to the B&G before you gave them yours. I suppose in that sense someone can "steal" your moment. This was a surprise that the B&G didn't know about, so that is different situation (I think) from a session they are actively participating in.

    Personally, if I were an invited guest to a wedding and I knew the couple well enough to even think about bringing my camera I'd ask them if it was ok first. I'd probably check with the hired photog to see if it was ok for me to tag along during the private session, not to try to get the same shot but to get different shots that the hired photog isn't getting. I think that there is a lot of interesting stuff going on "behind the scenes" that the couple would enjoy seeing. I don't see what the problem with this is, I'm not trying to get the same shot.

    Again, it's an ethical issue and one that your average wedding guest is not likely to understand. I think that the disconnect between me and some of the pro photogs that were commenting on the last post was that while I'm not a pro photog I've had enough experience to know better than to get in the way, I also have enough self respect to learn from others but not directly copy them.

    If I were to use the caulk board idea in a wedding then would that be bad? Should I give Elizabeth attribution for the idea, and how? Elizabeth herself said that the idea isn't original to her, yet she used it without attributing it to the person she got the idea form. Many of the poses and lighting techniques that photogs on the other post claimed they owned are not their original idea, or are at least derivative of other photgs work. Where do you draw the line?

  • DerekL May 24, 2011 04:21 am

    Ruining the surprise for them? There's not going to be a surprise whether pictures are posted to Facebook or not - their friends are going to *tell* them about the chalkboard.

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer May 24, 2011 04:17 am

    Ah, I forgot to mention that two weeks ago I had an actual wedding photograph stolen (screencapped from a slideshow on my site) and entered into a wedding photography contest on Facebook. The person running the contest contacted me because the photo won, so they did a rights search on it and thankfully my efforts to copyright my work paid off as I was found and the photo was taken out of the contest. I contacted Facebook directly and they shut down the page asap as well.

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer May 24, 2011 04:15 am

    I really like using the world stealing to describe someone shooting over your shoulder (or from any position for a shot you have set up) at a wedding. This increasing action at weddings has for me moved past merely being annoying to the point that it not only jeopardizes me being able to get the shot I want it has impacted shots. The thing that galls me the most is that I have told people to their face that they are going to ruin their friend's/sister's/son's/daughter's wedding photographs and they have actually said to me, "I don't care." I have heard this from the mother of the groom before, among others. Hence, I am mostly done with wedding photography. Unless working in the $5000+ per wedding stratosphere, I find things are just not what I want to deal with. I want to work unencumbered. That has not been possible in the past year. So it is car and commercial photography focuses for me now.

    ******************
    I post this at the end of every comment on dPS: please stop using fadeout popup ads trying to get me to subscribe to this website. They are incredibly annoying and ruining the experience of reading an article on this site. Is there any other site on the entire Internet that does such an invasive practice? If you feel the same way please note it in your comment as well.

  • Erin May 24, 2011 04:12 am

    I would love to hear an IP attorney weigh in on this. One thing that's bothering me is the use of the term "copyright". It's my understanding that in U.S. copyright law you can only copyright something after it's been established in a fixed form. So, you posing folks isn't copyrightable - the resulting image, the actual photograph or digital file, is.

    I get why it would be annoying and you might consider it stealing, but I don't really think "intellectual copyright" is quite the right term.

  • Rabi May 24, 2011 03:57 am

    I think your points are totally reasonable. After reading both articles, people are clearly missing the point. People get in your way, and take shots that you spent time posing/finding. You're a professional, and people should respect that.

    This fortunately isn't a problem I encounter much, as I primarily shoot news. I'll often be working alongside other pros, and it's sort of understood that we all need photos of the same things. That said, if I found a particularly interesting, creative shot and someone else copied it I might be a little annoyed. Then again, in that situation I've probably been on the stealing end before.

  • Lorenzo Reffo May 24, 2011 03:53 am

    I'm quite sure you don't need me to say it and you just know it... But the B&W picture on the top is definitely a great one! You've not ignored what was happening - you choose to "use" it instead to turn your composition into something beautiful. You make the bride appear like a star - and actually that was her day! By the way, I like the way you write so I guess it was just a misunderstandment ;)

    Ah... and let me say the "hearts" idea was great - sure I will steal it and use on the next wedding! Joking!! LOL :)

  • Martha May 24, 2011 03:47 am

    I've always wondered about taking a shot behind someone's shoulder. But even if they're taking the same subject, I doubt they're utilizing the exposure triangle, composition techniques, etc. Now, people blocking your shot while they try to snap a shot, that's just rude.

  • Photomagic May 24, 2011 03:25 am

    I feel your frustration!

    How do we get good shots when all the guests are stepping into your view "real quick" to take a pic and then upload it the same day to Facebook? Grrrrr. You just have to grin and bear it I guess.

    I just did a function in a church, and the party afterward, and when I set up the shots I had cameras of all sizes and shapes flashing all over the place. Worse still they were all shouting "over here! look over here!" so I couldn't get a shot of everyone looking at ME! I couldn't say anything because the father was right in there with everyone else flashing away. I understood he was excited and wanted to capture the day but of course they look at HIM, they all know HIM not me!

    I had to sneak the guest of honor out back to get my shots without the crowd! And I do the messages on boards too. I thought I was super smart . . never saw it before . . just goes to show you there is nothing new when it comes to photography!!

    AND a friend of mine was there who does not believe in Professional Photographers. Her opinion is "why do they charge $30.00 a sheet when ink and paper cost $1.00 a sheet?" So knowing she gets her hair cut and styled each month I said "why do you pay $50.00+ when I know scissors and a comb cost $5.00 and they use them over and over and over again?" :D

  • Matt May 24, 2011 03:13 am

    I agree that that seems to be what she is saying and that seems to be ridiculous. If I take a photo of something and someone else comes up behind me, takes the same photo of the same subject from the same angle, there is nothing wrong with that. Chances are my skill level is different than the other persons and I would like to think that my photo will be better. But they aren't likely to be identical. My photo will be mine and his photo will be his. He doesn't owe me anything. and I have no rights on that composition. Is it annoying having someone do that to you? Perhaps, if you let yourself get bothered by something like that. But why do you let yourself get bothered by it?

  • Marty May 24, 2011 03:12 am

    I can understand where your coming from with this, and if you have spent the time setting up the shot then its bad really for someone else to snap a quick one off....

    weddings can be a little awkward though. The standard poses are just that. I don't think there is much room to complain at someone off to the side grabbing a shot. ultimately, your in prime position and your shots should be of the best quality. everyone else's shots should just be a "grab what you can" but if you are setting up a special pose for a particular shot, again someone off to the side is one thing, but I would certainly be saying something if they were right on my shoulder. This is something that should be brought up in the consultation prior to booking your services. I make it clear that I will not be happy if someone starts taking shots within 3 to 4 meters from me or in front of me. That is just not going to happen.

    On the other side of the coin, I was at a wedding recently. as the best man I could not really be the photographer as well, so somebody else (friend of a friend of the brides) was recommended. I did bring my camera and took a few shots myself of the bride and groom, plus plenty of other shots that the best man didnt have to be in. I didn't quite feel comfortable shooting someone else's shoot, and I did over step some boundaries that I would not have tolerated. And all I can say was it was a bloody good job I did. The so called pro was missing some essential kit. the most basic of missing kit is an external flash. You cant possibly expect to get satisfactory results from a pop up flash on a entry level Canon. not once did I see any colour calibration cards.

    the resulting photos were appalling. I got hold of dvd of the photographs. They were all shot on fully auto and as jpegs. the inside photos were full of really bad harsh shadows

    as I said, It was a good job i "stole" some photos as without them the happy couple would not have been so happy!.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck May 24, 2011 03:01 am

    Hi

    Getting back to a previous comment - this was the shot that was "copied". The local photographer however could not control the Marine Layer so it was not "exactly the same". Once again, a form of flattery.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/piers-of-california/

    What is not cool is copying a picture and posting it as your own or using it for some publication. Deb Sandidge, an expert in Infrared Photography (http://blog.deborahsandidge.com/) actually had someone copy one of her shots from Facebook, copied it to their own page, watermarked it as her own image and then asked Deb to be her Fan on Facebook!

    This is just wrong - watermarking does not really help either as Photoshop CS5 has Content Aware Fill to eliminate that. the best advice is is register all important images with your Copyright Office.

  • Pam May 24, 2011 02:56 am

    I think some of the arguments here `against' intellectual property rights/copyright are a little simplistic. Don't mimic someone else's photo (subject, location, camera angle, lighting, time of day, etc.) and call it your own - that's all she is saying, it seems to me. Or I'm I seeing this too simplistically?

  • utsuri May 24, 2011 02:52 am

    I think the problem comes when people come along thinking they get an intellectual 'free ride.' For example, if I were to pay someone to write a paper for me at school that would be me skating on the free intellectual highway. There is no work involved on my end and I reap the rewards so long as I don't get caught. Getting inspiration for a shot does still involve you physically using your camera and skills to take it- you still have to set it up and get the exposure right. Just pushing a button behind someone else amounts to them hoping they get the same thing with a lot less work involved. That really sounds like cheating, actually.

  • Penbleth May 24, 2011 02:39 am

    I don't think you should apologise. I notice here in the UK that more and more photographers who are paid to shoot the wedding are not letting guests take the same shots. Also most churches, if that is where the wedding is held, tell guests they cannot take any photos once the bride arrives in the church until they leave.

    I have a lot to learn about photography but I don't think you are wrong to want to protect your work.

  • Nicole May 24, 2011 02:37 am

    Missed your post last week.I can relate to your idea of stealing. Some people just take the intellectual copyright too far though. What if Ansel Adams came back, saying noone can shoot landscapes in b&w,....?!

  • John Taber May 24, 2011 02:34 am

    That story brings back a memory of mine that was somewhat like what you tried to explain. Me and my wife went to Santa Monica for vacation a number of years ago. On the pier they had a booth that was taking pictures of tourist standing with replicas of movie stars. It was fairly obvious that the replicas were fake, but everyone was having a good time having their pictures taken with Farrah Fawcett for the men and Robert Redford for the ladies. When my friend was having his picture taken with Farrah I stood a couple of yards in the background and took a picture with my 35mm. The guy that was taking the pictures told me I wasn't allowed to do that and was very rude about it. I never seen the harm in it as I was just taking a picture of my friend and he had already paid the fee. Now, if I went to a store and bought a prop of Farrah I could understand. So now i wish I would have been clever enough to say something about his choice of doing something as fun and enjoyable laughing with the tourists taking pictures and getting paid., and still had to look like a fool.

  • Joe Shelby May 24, 2011 02:29 am

    My wedding rules as a guest (such as they are)

    1) never shoot at the same angle as the official photographer - the variety is a good thing, and offers the interesting contrast of catching a bit more of "what were you thinking" candid that the photographer's own more direct angle is more trying to filter out to create the better portrait

    2) never stick my "neck" out to the point of getting into the official photog's shot (and in fact, relax the camera to a more subtle, resting position if i'm about to be caught in a candid),

    3) never go to any spot where only one or two are hanging out, as they may be there for privacy/personal space reasons (and this would have thus included your heart situation - i'm mindful of personal space needs in such semi-public situations as I have mild agoraphobia myself)

    4) always run my particular photos past the couple before going public on facebook or picasa with anything, giving them full veto rights no matter how many FB friends we have in common,

    5) take more candids of the crowd, particularly at times when the wedding couple is busy (like, say, with the official photographer). The couple can't be everywhere, but our cameras can, so use that as a gift to them of reminding them the event was bigger than just a rote collection of ceremonies and "chickendance".

    and 6) don't bother taking pictures of chickendance or ymca. Nobody goes for that kind of blackmail anymore...

  • Jo May 24, 2011 02:23 am

    I completely agree with this entry. It's wrong to take a picture someone else has taken the time and effort to set up. Nothing bugs me more than to see a photo I've taken that turned out great, taken ten seconds later by someone else, because mine turned out great. It's annoying and has basically told me that my ability and my effort to scout out that shot is worthless, because they'll just follow me around and use my hard work for their own gain.

    I also feel that it's pointless to copy someone's photo just because you think it's cool. Yes, it's a great shot, but it is all about how THAT PERSON saw what was around them. I really feel my photography is all about how I personally see what is going on around me and that is why most people enjoy the shots I take. You can tell from my photography when I'm the shortest person in the room or the tallest (which is rare). It's not that my pictures have people's heads in them or anything, it's just the way I shoot my photos (especially at special events and concerts) that is uniquely me and how I have experienced the event. I tend to like other photographers that take a similar approach. I want to see what a person saw, not what someone else saw in a book or online that they want to emulate.

  • Matt May 24, 2011 02:19 am

    I missed the post last week so am reading about this for the first time today. I can't understand how anyone can think that using your idea for a photo in another photo that they have taken themselves can possibly be counted as stealing. The closest analogy I can think of is not being able to write a story because someone already used that plotline before, or not being able to write a song with 2 guitars and drums because someone already did that. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  • Melissa May 24, 2011 02:19 am

    I'm surprised people have this problem. The last weddings I have been to, everyone is asked to go to the reception while the pictures are being taken. Then the wedding party comes in after the pictures and it's a free for all!

  • Amanda May 24, 2011 02:15 am

    Great post! I think people just don't understand that photographing shots that you have set up with your ideas and equipment is stealing. Without posts like these, or telling your clients they won't be educated about it.
    My biggest problem is clients removing photos from social media. I have had to resort to using lower quality images online.

  • Paul Dorio May 24, 2011 02:07 am

    Are there any original ideas, photographs, websites, musical riffs, etc? I think that most things that we see, hear and do have probably been done before in some form or another. The main issue seems to arise when someone is trying to make a living or make money off of their action and then another party comes along and replicates it. It also speaks to the effort of the original party, that is then diminished by the next person's copy. But overall, I think that plagiarism and stealing are difficult things to prove nowadays when so many situations overlap or are so easily copied and disseminated. I don't have a good answer either way, just observations.

    Thanks for the interesting post!

  • Dawn K. Thomson May 24, 2011 02:03 am

    I would have to agree it is stealing when someone is over your shoulder taking a photo. Not only that, it is very rude. If they had any manners, they would do the polite thing and ask if they could take a photo using your setup. Just my 2 cents on the subject.

  • Jamie May 24, 2011 02:03 am

    I've had the same problem with people taking photos in the photobooth that I'm running. Seriously? My props, my backdrop stand, etc.... Even worse is when the Uncle Bob then "directs' them in the booth.

    I'll stop now before I get too heated, but seriously, it's not a good thing to do.

  • Janean Lindner May 24, 2011 02:02 am

    I totally got what you were saying and for that very reason I have been really burned out on shooting weddings and events. It is hard to have a voice and get people to understand that what you are doing is your profession. I feel as a photographer I am often not taken seriously. I feel people sometimes just do not "get" all the work that goes into editing and creatively capturing moments. I love you Elizabeth and can't wait to read more from you! XOXO

  • Eileen May 24, 2011 02:02 am

    I agree that shooting the same composition as the professional who was hired is pushing it when you are shooting from behind him. Shooting after you make the shot is correct. Trying to stay out of your way when you shoot is also polite. But you seem to have struck a nerve because it is a very gray area. It is going to get more difficult as cameras get better at taking photos and less skill is required of the person behind the camera. Only the very best can survive...but I am sure that is happening with garage movie studios, garage bands. etc.

  • Commentor May 24, 2011 02:02 am

    Weekly Reader Poll:

    How Many Photos Do You Take Per Week (on Average)

    -- and by 'take' you mean 'steal,' right?

    :D

  • Zhu May 24, 2011 01:55 am

    There is a very thin line sometimes between "stealing" and "being inspired by". I'm pretty sure all aspiring photographers browsed Flickr and made a mental note of the shots they liked - I know I did. But simply copying it isn't fair, you have to add your own perspective, to leave your mark.

    For instance, a friend of mine is a huge fan of shooting railroads. After I saw her shots I realized railroads were interesting and started to take picture at a location in my neighborhood. But I made a point of trying different angles, different perspectives etc. I don't consider that copying or stealing but I'm thankful for the inspiration.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck May 24, 2011 01:38 am

    Hi

    I have shot many images and published then online on my Blog and often months later have found that someone else took the exact same shot from the exact same position. One of the notables was from Oceanside Pier in California. I had a double take when I saw it, because it was My shot.

    I consider this to be a form of flatterly - someone actually took the time to replicate my vision. So, I too and guilty of this! Last weekend was spent copying a famous photographer who frequented Yosemite in many years ago - I'll let you guess who that could have been!

    Here is one of MY Copies!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/bridalveil-falls/

  • Maximo Almonte May 24, 2011 01:20 am

    Very nice post last week and this week.
    I don't believe anyone should feel offended by your post last week, but it can be somewhat of a drag to get pay to do something and all you have in front and behind you is people taking the opportunity of the set up to get their own images. Very well said.

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