Posts Tagged ‘Photographers’

Pre-Order D65’s Lightroom 4 Book

March 6th, 2012 |  by No comments

Pre-Order D65's Lightroom Workbook, Workflow Not Workslow in Lightroom 4

This book is based on the D-65 workshops which are a dynamic resource for photographers of any level. The 4-day intensive workshop equips pro photographers art directors, photo editors, image heavy bloggers, and the advanced amateur with the tools to manage their workflow efficiently, effectively, and effortlessly.

With our book or workshop, utilizing the 7 modules of Lightroom 4, we’ll teach you detailed workflow, digital asset management, processing and image delivery. You’ll also learn to tag, name, size, and sharpen your images so they’re perfect for reproduction. Plus, you’ll become an expert in keeping every image you shoot organized and archived.

By the end of our book, workshop, or consultation you will have the skills to create your own successful workflow in Lightroom 4.

If you read our first or second book, The Photoshop Lightroom Workbook, Workflow not Workslow in Lightroom 2, or D-65’s Lightroom Workbook Workflow, Not Workslow in Lightroom 3, you will already know why we love Lightroom.  If you haven’t read our earlier books, or been to one of our workshops or webinars, Lightroom is a one-stop solution for digital workflow. It utilizes the power behind Adobe Camera Raw, combining image processing and a digital asset management system under one roof. The aim of Lightroom is to be simple and to streamline workflow.



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Categories: D65's Lightroom Book

Secondary Rights: The Greatest Kept Secret

September 22nd, 2011 |  by No comments

This from Michael Grecco. More to come on this topic soon….

Secondary Rights: The Greatest Kept Secret

The greatest kept secret in photography is not a special lens or a light making everyone beautiful. The greatest kept secret in photography is the fact that $215 million in revenue is collected throughout the United States every year, using your images – while almost none of it goes to the photographers and artists that create these great images.

This money goes to “secondary rights”, the reproduction of publications that have already been printed. In other words, it is either used as a reference article by a corporation or distributed as a promotional piece by a business to supply potential clients press about their company. I, myself, do not give these rights away – I restrict third party usage, which is noted in the usage terms of my license and in the paperwork I give to clients.

Here is another analogy as to what these rights are: a musician writes a song and get’s paid every time a their music is purchased and/or downloaded – those are their primary licenses. That same musician though receives a payment from ASCAP or BMI every time that music is then used for commercial purposes, namely played on the radio, or in a bar, or in a restaurant. While Congress actually makes it mandatory that songwriters get paid, we as contributors to publications have no such protection.

The CCC was created by publishers to collect additional revenue for secondary rights. In other countries, these revenues are divided up, for the most part, between the publisher, the writer, and the visual contributor to the magazine. Here, the CCC only pays the publisher – mostly because they are the only party represented as rights holders. The CCC has been allowed to get away with this because most organizations do not publically talk about these rights. Instead, they try to do business with the CCC, allowing them to make money on your work – while they try to gain something for themselves.

Since many corporations pay the CCC in a “blanket” yearly license, the argument has been made that it is impossible to distribute money to artist when you do not know whom the rights holder, or artist, is. The reality is that the music industry does it everyday. They calculate whose songs were played the most, in what genres, and through sophisticated algorithms they determine how much money is owed to whom. Presently no photographer, illustrator, or writer is receiving this money. Wouldn’t it be better to attempt to distribute it rather than just giving it all to the publishers? I think with our industry doing as poorly as it is, this should be the photography community’s priority.

As Advocacy Chairman of APA, we would be interested in anyone who has knowledge of any magazines being reprinted and/or copied by people who have a CCC license. In fact, we would love copies of what has been duplicated, if possible. Please contact us at:

Thank you. More about this subject can be heard as part of my interview with Selina Maitreya’s radio show, Points of View:


Michael Grecco

Photographer + Director
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Categories: Business

Two Visions Collide

June 6th, 2011 |  by No comments

One of my most educational experiences in Antarctica was shooting side by side next to JP (John Paul Caponigro). We are cruising along and the captain announces that there is an interesting iceberg coming up on Port Side. Instantly the photographers are armed and ready and lined up along the rail for the assault. This kind of shooting can be aggravating or it can be a most enjoyable experience depending on how you handle it. I am about 4 inches from JP on one side and Jeff Schewe on the other. I look out at this iceberg and instantly said to myself that the only image that will work is with a 300mm and a 2x converter. JP whips out his 28mm and I stopped and think HUH. No way can you shoot this blip on the horizon with a 28mm. In fact I wished I had my 800mm. We both have the same reaction.” What are you seeing?” We instinctively trade cameras and we both burst out into laughter. JP is shooting this horizontal line with a little blip ( and it is amazing) and I am isolating just the side of this iceberg with great light. Side by side with 4 inches between us and you would never know we were even on the same boat.

This experience repeated itself multiple times on all three of our trips. Here I am with my 300 and JP is next to me with a 28mm and we are shooting the same thing. The biggest irony was several times I would  think about how JP would shoot and I would show up on deck with a 14mm and JP would show up with a 300mm. We had such an influence on each other and to this day every time I pull out my wide angle lens I think about JP.

As visual artists we all see the world differently. Sharing those experiences can be truly educational and enlightening.

Read JP’s version here
Find out more about our Digital Photography Destinations workshops here where we have some of the greatest instructors all at the same time for your unique learning and photographing experience.


Long Lens Marguerite Bay

Wide angle view of iceberg in Marguerite Bay


Long lens Cierva Cove

Wide angle Cierva Cove


Long Lens Scotia Sea

Wide view Scotia Sea


Long lens Orne Harbour

Wide angle Orne Harbour

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Creative Shooting Workshops – Santa Fe, Mendocino, Iceland & Patagonia

May 20th, 2011 |  by No comments

Perfecting your images takes work. Today almost everyone owns a camera. And, yes, the process of taking a picture has become so simple that even a child can do it. But it takes a truly special vision to capture the world in a graphically brilliant manner in 1/500 of a second. So over the years I have picked up many photographic exercises that I regularly practice, and that I teach my students to keep them in good visual shape and make them better photographers. When I teach a creative workshop we of course go to fantastic locations but the workshops concentrate on techniques to polish your images. We will also do daily critiques to help you further refine your techniques. Here are a few of my favorites:

Triangles in the Corners
When we are attracted to a subject we tend to look towards the center of the viewfinder and rarely pay attention to the periphery. It is in the periphery where we find the things that detract from the image. It may be the branch sticking in, or a pattern of color. As an exercise when you are framing an image take your eyes and glance to the periphery in the viewfinder. Look for triangles being formed, and if you see them it is a good indication that you need to move in tighter on your subject. If you have a triangle in the corner of one of your images and want to determine if it adds to the photograph or detracts from it, cover up everything except the triangle. If the triangle is important, keep it in. More than likely, though, the triangle will be an area of black or white or a branch and by itself is anything but a good image. In this case crop the image and remove the triangles. Space is defined and determined by shapes and forms. Positive space is where shapes and forms exist; negative space is the empty space around shapes and forms. For images to have a sense of balance use positive and negative space to counter balance each other.

Triangles of dead space in the upper right and left

Image is much cleaner and stronger without the triangles of dead space in the corner


Shadows and light create drama and far too many photographers think that shadows ruin an image. Try creating images using shadows and making the shadows darker or lighter than they appear to the eye by controlling the exposure. Doing so can help truly create dramatic images. Without shadows, a subject has no form, or texture and appears flat. Shadows don’t have to be dominant and harsh to achieve the effects of form, and texture. They can be soft, to show the most delicate light, shape and form. Generally, harsh, black shadows cause problems especially in reproduction because of loss of detail but from a compositional standpoint, black shadows can be very useful in balancing a scene and directing attention to the point of interest. Harsh shadows can also be excellent for emphasizing texture and form, for creating interesting patterns, and for directing attention.

Lion prints appear concave with the image viewed this way

Same image and now the lion prints appear convex. This is simply based on how your brain perceives the shadow


We will study many creative exercises to enhance creativity. Learn more in one of our week long creative workshops:

Santa Fe, New Mexico  July 10-16, 2011

Iceland August 7-13, 2011

Mendocino with Greg Gorman Sept 11- 16, 2011

Patagonia with John Paul Caponigro, Arthur Meyerson, Eric Meola

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Categories: Creativity, Workshops

Seth Resnick Interview with Juergen Specht-Shakodo

March 8th, 2011 |  by No comments

Dialog with Seth Resnick

Juergen Specht: Thanks Seth for joining me in a dialog about the current status of working photographers today. I am thrilled to see you so active on Shakodo, and even we’ve met basically here, I was aware of your work – and especially your pricing information on your site for a long, long time. In fact, I used some of your info as a guideline for a lot of my licensing in the US market.

Before we start, please tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been a photographer and what led you to the profession?

For Full Article  on Shakodo



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Categories: Business

Webinar – Social Networking, Slideshows & Web Galleries direct from Lightroom- Tues, March 8th 8-9:30 PM (eastern)

March 7th, 2011 |  by No comments

Social Networking, Slideshows & Web Galleries direct from Lightroom
DATE: Tuesday , March 8th
TIME: 8:00-9:30 PM (eastern)
COST: $50.00
Get your images out to your clients and friends with ease!  Lightroom 3 has the ability to upload directly to Facebook, SMugmug and Flickr. You also can build slideshows and export them as movies with music, and produce gorgeous web galleries, all built in a non-destructive fashion directly from your raw files. Learn how to use these tools to your advantage and let the world see your amazing images!


Space is limited in all of our eSeminars to ensure we can answer all your questions in our interactive Q&A.  Each participant also receives a recording of the eSeminar to view for 14 days to review the concepts covered.

Register Today!

Upon completion of your registration you will receive a separate email from Webex with a link you will use on to take you to your eSeminar. See you online!

Can’t make it?

Register to view the recorded session later by clicking on: Recorded Sessions



Read what other photographers have to say…

I attended the webinar last night — you guys are so efficient, to the point, informational and super approachable — as always!  I feel lucky to have a training source like this.


– Inga Peterson, photographer
The insight you guys provide is academic and hands on – the difference between using a tool and knowing what a tool does. You guys describe the important factors of how a tool works better than anyone out there. The accessibility of the webinars doesn’t hurt either.

– Trevor Boyle, photographer


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Categories: Webinars

Copyright – Defined and Explained

January 3rd, 2011 |  by Comments off

By Seth Resnick, © 2011 Seth Resnick, D65 – All Rights Reserved

Copyright is one of the top concerns facing photographers and illustrators today, as well as the customers who buy our work

For us creatives, our intellectual property is not only our current business, but it’s also our retirement account. We must be able to control and license the intellectual property we create. If we’re unable to benefit from its long-term value, we’ll be unable to remain in the marketplace.

For companies working with images in their day-to-day business – such as print providers dealing with graphics for a P-O-P project, for example – they must be certain those images are indeed free and clear to work with. No print providers want to go through the legal hassles and expenses that can arise if it’s found that a project comprises images whose copyright has been infringed. Not only will it be difficult to collect payment from a client being sued for copyright infringement, but the print provider himself may find that he, too, is implicated in a lawsuit. And keep in mind that there are consequences to copyright violations: Copyright owners can seek damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, plus all legal fees and court costs.

First, some basics

Copyright is, literally, the “right to copy” – to distribute and display copies, to make derivative works, and to profit from those copies. Granted at the moment of creation, copyright lasts for 70 years after the author’s death. Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of a copyrighted work.

In order to gain protection, a work must be tangible – photos, paintings, music, software, etc.; ideas themselves cannot be copyrighted. The person who creates the tangible property owns the works, period. Most photographers and illustrators hired today are freelancers. The works they create they own, unless they sign a contract stating otherwise (other exceptions to this are if the creator is a full time employee or if there is a “work-for-hire” agreement signed by both parties).

Technically, works do not need to be registered in order to gain protection under copyright. In the US, however, registering works with the US Copyright Office ( is really the only way of legally defending copyright claims (in many other parts of the world, registration is not needed for full protection). And although it’s no longer legally required on copyrighted works as of 1989, the formal copyright notation is typically enough to dissuade innocent or non-willful copyright infringement. (the copyright notation comprises the word “copyright” or the symbol ©, the year, and the name of the author – for example, © 2011 Seth Resnick; some countries also require the notation, “all rights reserved”).

A work may be registered at any time, but to receive maximum protection it should be registered before publication, or within 90 days of first publication. Registering after an infringement has occurred entitles the artist to compensation for the use, plus any profits the infringing party has gained. Infringing a previously registered image, however, can bring statutory damages of up to $150,000 per willful infringement plus attorney’s fees and court costs. In addition, copyright involving more than $2500 can be deemed a felony. Importantly, the power of registration itself, and the copyright symbol and notation, is typically enough to encourage a settlement without ever going to court.

Evaluating gray areas

So copyright law is not rocket science, but there are some gray areas that sometimes make it difficult to follow. Here are some typical questions that arise between creators and those who work with their images:

  • We always assume that we have the rights to reproduce an image that’s been supplied to us. We also assume that, as a third party, the acquisition of rights is not our responsibility and that we can’t be legally responsible if there is an error.

    Everyone is responsible, and if there is a legal action it’s typical to sue all parties. Even if you are an innocent infringer, damages may still have occurred. Contracts should be used for licensing of images, and ensure that your clients have the rights to use the images they’re providing you with.

  • What about asset-management programs and online archives that archive and manage images? Does the inclusion of an image into such a program or system “eliminate” the copyright? And does a print provider, service bureau, etc., need the image creator’s permission to store said images (if the images were provided by the image creator’s clients)?

    The copyright remains with the artist despite the inclusion in any database. When the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in The New York Times, et al v. Tasini, the court held that the “revision” privilege for collective works does not include republication of the writers’ works in electronic databases. This decision specifically means that unless a freelancer grants electronic rights to a publisher of a collective work, such as a magazine, then the freelancer controls these rights exclusively. No image should be included in a database or asset-management system without the permission of the copyright holder or his agent.

  • I hired the photographer, paid for his time and expenses, told him what to do – so I own the material, correct?

    No. Unless the work was produced under a “work-for-hire” contract, the person who produced the tangible property owns the work, and the usage of such work is governed by a license for the use.

  • I paid for the use of an image in a brochure and now I am posting the brochure to our website. This is fair use, correct?

    No, the Web or any other usage is a separate usage and must be granted by license.

  • We have a buyout policy.

    Many clients believe that “buyout” means that they own the image and have unlimited exclusive rights and/or the copyright. In fact, “buyout” is not a legal term. To the photographer, the term may indicate certain specific, unlimited rights, but no transfer of copyright. The worst part of this situation is that both parties believe they own the images, which can lead to a dispute causing the loss of a client and a legal fiasco.

  • I bought a print by the photographer so don’t I own it as well as the rights to reproduce it?

    You bought the physical print, but not the rights to reproduce the image; the creator retains the rights.

  • If I change more than 30 percent (40 percent, etc.) of the image, then it is legally a new image, correct – and I would have the new copyright?

    No, the result is a “derivative,” and the derivative rights are the sole property of the copyright owner.

  • I took several images and combined them into a new image, which is now mine, correct?

    The copyright for each of the images remains the exclusive property of the owner of each image; the result here is a case of multiple infringements.

  • I found the image on the Web, hence it’s in the public domain, yes?

    No, the Web or Internet is a form of publication, exactly like print, and full copyright protection is applied.

  • Someone e-mailed the material to me, putting it into the public domain, correct?

    E-mail is not public domain, and the transmission of an image via this medium (or any medium) has no effect on its copyright status.

  • Why can’t I use someone’s image if doing so really doesn’t cause them harm – after all, it’s free advertising.

    Bottom line: The copyright belongs to the creator, and it’s up to him or her to decide if and when to license the material.

  • When does something fall under “fair use”?

    Fair use is a very gray area that leads to a lot of confusion. Under the fair-use doctrine, copyrighted material may be used under some conditions. In order to determine if a use is fair or is an infringement, you must determine the impact this use will have on the potential market for the copyrighted work. Even in the educational market, where a work is used for the classroom – which generally does fall under fair use – the usage may be beyond the scope of fair use if the value or market of the copyrighted work is lessened. The best advice: Ask if you want to use a piece that you feel comes under fair usage. One form of fair use which is slightly more clear is that of parody, in which a piece of copyrighted material is used for social commentary.

  • We require all artists to sign a contract stating that the photographer or artist “will hold harmless from and indemnify us against all costs (including, without limitation, legal fees, settlements and/or judgments) incurred in resolving such claim.” Does this take care of our responsibility?

    Most artists can’t legally sign a statement like this because, regardless of intent, we don’t have the insurance or financial wealth to indemnify a large business. We would be committing fraud by signing a statement like this knowing that we don’t have millions of dollars worth of insurance. Better is the following statement, which is fair and represents the best interests of both parties: “Photographer or artist will warrant the originality, authorship, authenticity and sole ownership of all rights. The author will use the best of their abilities to provide releases when requested, obtained in writing, and ascertain to the best of their abilities that publication of the material will not infringe upon any copyright or right of privacy. Author agrees to cooperate in the defense of any legal action, which may be brought against client arising from the publication of the material.

Ask first

If you’re interested in accessing more information on copyright, your best place to begin is the US Copyright Office website. Meanwhile, a good rule of thumb is that if you have a question about an image, ask first before making any assumptions.

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Categories: Business

The State of Business for the Digital Photographer Preparing For 2011

December 27th, 2010 |  by Comments off

If it were just about money I would have been a lawyer. I know too many photographers who hate what they do or at best they look at it like a 9-5 job. I never want to look at photography as a 9-5 job. I always carry a camera so that when I am inspired I can shoot. It is something I always loved about my mentor, Jay Maisel. You can’t make a great image if you don’t have a camera and I am amazed at how many photographers never have a camera except when they are working. Second, I try and approach every assignment in a way that is different. As a still photographer I want to do more than bring back what you would see if you were standing next to me. My visual philosophy is to produce images that nobody else envisions. I want to bring back images that someone standing next to me would not visualize from my “minds eye”. Color, design, gesture, texture and spontaneity are all key elements in all of my images. In general I am intrigued by the ability to transform what my minds eye sees into planes of color and design. Shooting digitally has improved my craft but it has also has had an impact on my bottom line.

Digital is not cheaper! It is however better, but better for who? The biggest advantage of digital has been convenience and improved quality for our clients but for photographers there is the added job of acting as “The Lab” as well as a dramatic increase in the cost of equipment.


Typically in business it is the seller who sets the price and the buyer who either accepts it or searches elsewhere. For some strange reason this has not been the case for photography. While we as photographers typically own our own business we must acknowledge that for the most part we behave more like artists than like business people. We have relinquished far too much responsibility in guiding the course of our business to our clients.

Unlike most business’s where the seller sets the fee, with photographers it is the client who says how much we can charge for a day’s work, and what they will pay for our expenses. Our clients have largely dictated fees and expenses and for the most part haven’t changed what they pay for decades. When I went into this business in 1978 the going rate paid to photographers from the major publications was the same fee or close to the fee that they pay today, thirty-three years later. In 1978 a photographer might have been able to show a decent profit especially when all of his or her standard equipment cost under $10K. In thirty three years the creative fee for most photographers shooting editorial assignments for magazines for example has increased approximately 14%. During that same period inflation has totaled 80%; and, during that same period the average equipment overhead has risen 1000%. One thousand percent!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage has increased by approximately fifty percent since 1990. However, most photographers are paid less or the same today than the rate from years ago. Median annual wages of salaried photographers were $29,440 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,620 and $43,530. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $62,430. Median annual wages in the photographic services industry, which employed the largest numbers of salaried photographers, were $26,160.

Photographers held about 152,000 jobs in 2009. More than half were self-employed, a much higher proportion than for most occupations. The industry adds about 17,500 new photographers each year.

When corrected for the rate of inflation the results are even worse. Factoring in that today’s digital camera can cost $7000.00 with a life of three-years verses the film based body costing about $1000.00 two decades ago with a life of at least five years the financial impact is even greater on the photographer. The overall reduction in compensation for digital expenses is dramatically compounded by our 10-fold increase in equipment costs and reduction in the life of the equipment.

Here is a thought. I for example could take out my 30-year-old film camera and compete head to head with my mentor Jay Maisel. The only thing separating us would be talent not technical issue. If the 30 year-old film camera is depreciated over 30 years it has certainly been affordable. With digital my Canon 1DsM11 which cost $5000.00 can’t compete against my Canon 1DsMII1 which cost $7000.00. If I am to compete against my peers, which are simply part of business, I can’t be at a technical disadvantage. If I am to compete against my peers, which is simply part of business, I can’t be at a technical disadvantage.

Our clients today are under pressure to cut expenses. Photography budgets are cut in part because of a misunderstanding stemming from clients understandably believing that simply because there is no film and processing that there are no costs associated with digital.

Today a basic digital set of two professional SLRs, several lenses, dedicated flashes, laptop, desktop computer, card reader, memory cards, color management and processing software, monitor, printers, storage and back up storage, will cost approximately $20,000 to $80,000 or more.

Comparatively, a basic film system would likely cost under $20,000 and would likely remain current and functional for 10 years or longer.

So here is the comparison:

  • $20,000/10 years = $2,000/year average cost if you’re shooting film
  • $50,000/5 years = $10,000/year average cost for digital

Pricing Digital

While digital may be instantaneous for most amateurs it is anything but instant for a pro concerned with delivering the best file. It is natural for most clients not to understand this. After all everyone today is a photographer. There were nearly as many digital cameras sold in the US last year, as there are citizens. For most folks simply clicking the shutter uploading to Facebook or Shutterfly and ordering prints is all that is necessary. For the pro this is not an option. The best quality files will be obtained by shooting in a raw format, processing the files while applying tone and curve corrections, sharpening and preparing them for output. This takes time and money.

There are several ways to charge for digital:

1) The Prix-Fixed method (better known as “The Fast-Food Full Meal Deal”)

Utilizing this strategy, the photographer charges into one line item, often called a “Digital Production Charge.” This basic charge covers everything and usually is billed as a per day charge. This may include:

  • Equipment charges (cost of the equipment)
  • Digital processing charges (tonal corrections, processing sharpening)
  • Delivery (CD’s, DVD’s or FTP uploading)
  • Archiving (preservation of the files in multiple locations for use later)

2) The à la Carte method (or “Would you like fries and Super size?”)

Utilizing this strategy the photographer itemizes all of the charges. This is a charge for every item. As is the case for a restaurant, à la Carte generally costs a great deal more. Charges may include:

  • Digital Capture charge and or Digital production equipment rentals digital cameras, lenses, lighting
  • Digital Processing fee- raw to usable file format with tonal and curves adjustments with rush charges if needed right away
  • Retouching – dust removal, and image retouching
  • Delivery – CD/DVD/FTP
  • Reference prints and proofs
  • Media Charges (memory cards, micro-drives)
  • Presentation – contact sheets and web galleries
  • CMYK or other conversion – file conversion for job specs
  • Insertion of metadata
  • Archiving

More Responsibility for the Photographer

A client should expect to pay more for digital than they were paying for film but they should also expect more from the photographer. In the dark ages when we shot film, the photographer’s job was simply to get it on film. If it looked good on a light table, with rich saturated color it was done. From that point on it was the clients problem and this led to a general “us against them mentality” which is still pervasive throughout the industry. The relationships that photographers maintain with their clients must change. We are in fact symbiotic with our clients. Where in the past, reproduction was simply a client problem; the advent of digital has taken the responsibility for excellent reproduction to the photographer. We need each other.


It is clear that photographers and those who reproduce our work need to work better together. We are partners and as such we need to develop a collaborative relationship rather than an adversarial one. Photographers must be compensated for their added costs and in turn should be providing better quality images for optimum reproduction faster, which aids the client.

The world economy has benefited in the last few decades, which is a direct contrast to the digital photographer supplying content and witnessing a shrinking of fees and an increase in costs. As a freelancer, I exist only by the value of the intellectual property I produce. If I can’t benefit from the value of being a digital photographer I can’t stay in the marketplace to produce more images, which ultimately enrich our culture. Without a profit I minimize my ability to earn a living from my work and at the worst it removes an incentive to create.

Instead of profiting from the intellectual property we produce, we are crippled by our own intellectual property. This is the exact opposite intent of the copyright law, which was designed to give creators and inventors a chance to benefit from the fruits of their labors. If this trend continues, our ability to survive and the incentive to produce the varied intellectual property from which our country benefits will be greatly hindered.

Photographers have a creative inspiration to share with the world. The visions we develop will quickly fade unless we acknowledge that we must be business people as well as creative people. As the marketplace grows, I believe that it is more important than ever to remember that we, as photographers, are operating a business. The essence of our creative drives is being jeopardized by our inability to educate, participate, and negotiate in the global market. Let’s make some change for 2011.

Learning How to Price Your Assignment Work

One of the most confusing areas for photographers is to figure out  what and how to charge. Photographers generally want to be artists and find the entire aspect of business mystifying and generally something they don’t want to deal with. Here is some advice to help simplify the problems.

The first issue to consider is if you want to price by the hour or by usage. While both of these methods are used by photographers, a time based solution is counterproductive for everyone involved. If you ask most clients what they think is the ideal photographer, they will respond that the ideal photographer is the one who can do a do a good job and do it quickly. Rarely do clients actually want a photographer who says they will take a long time to do anything. Yet, if one prices based on time, the person who takes the longest makes the most money. The photographer who is the ideal person for the job who shows up and does a fantastic job in a hurry is paid the least. This is counterproductive to everyone involved. The photographer who does the best job makes the least. The client is also faced with the reality that if the photographer is paid more to go slow, they will inevitably waste time. The second problem with a time based solution is that there is no benefit of doing a really good job. For example if you are told by a client that they want one image for a brochure and you shoot for 5 hours at a set fee you receive no added benefit if the client loves what you do and uses 10 images with one on the cover of the brochure. The only advantage to a price by the hour solution is that it is easy to determine a fee but there is absolutely no reward for quality.

A better solution is to price yourself based on usage. If you are hired to produce one image for a brochure and you end up doing a fantastic job, in less time than predicted, this system rewards the photographer for their efforts. Here is a suggested system to help determine fees for based on usage.

1) Base Rate and Overhead
The very first suggestion is for every photographer to figure out their actual overhead to determine a base fee to start with. To many photographers don’t account or know their own cost of doing business and this is critical. It is safe to assume that someone in Omaha, Nebraska may have a different overhead than someone in NYC. Once the overhead is determined a base fee can be established and usage can be added on to this to determine a final fee. Most photographers are shocked when they actually sit down and figure out their overhead or actual cost of doing business. Here are some of the expenses to analyze when determining cost of doing business.

  • Office Studio Rent
  • Telephone – fax / pager / cell
  • Advertising-Promotion -ads/ printing / mailings / web sites – design + hosting / mailing lists
  • Equipment-computers/ cameras
  • Subscriptions / dues / insurance – business / workers comp / disability
  • Healthcare
  • Professional Services – legal / accounting/ tax prep
  • Utilities
  • Repair
  • Car + Truck Expenses
  • Office Supplies
  • Photography Supplies -non-billable (film tests, expendables)
  • Postage / Shipping
  • Office person / Payroll expense
  • Retirement Account

Once these costs are known you have a base rate which covers your actual fee for doing business and this is a good starting point to use as a base rate.

2) Usage
The second component to understand is how to apply usage. Many photographers fail to get enough information from a client in order to fairly determine usage. Simply knowing that the image will be used in a brochure for example does not provide adequate information. The following information will help a photographer determine a fair usage fee. Those questions include:

  • TYPE OF RIGHTS – Advertising, editorial, advertorial, electronic
  • MEDIA RIGHTS – consumer print, advertorial ,consumer Print, trade, print advertising, annual report, brochure, newsletter, single sheet, billboard, public transit, trade show, book Inside, magazine, electronic, book, AV presentation, website, TV editorial, TV advertising, layout comp
  • LANGUAGE – English, Other
  • GEOGRAPHICAL – US, North America, Europe, Asia, World etc.
  • QUANTITY – 1000, 5000, 25,000 etc.
  • DURATION – one day, one month, one year etc.
  • SIZE – 1/4 page, 1/2 page, cover, etc.

Each of these components help to determine value and thus usage. These fees can be added to a base fee to determine an overall fee which truly accounts for a fee based on usage. This system is fair to both the photographer and the client.

Learning How to Price Your Stock Images

So you want to be a stock photographer…
Stock photography can be very labor intensive and it may take years before it is profitable but it can be a fantastic way of turning your energy and love into cash.

It seems that everyplace I go I am asked questions about becoming a stock photographer. People assume that they have talent and they have been to cool places so there must be a world out there just waiting to buy their images. The truth of the matter, there is a world of folk waiting to license photographs but becoming a stock photographer is anything but easy.

First lets examine what constitutes stock photography. Stock photography is by definition existing photography available to buyers for their specific needs. The photographs become a commodity available through either an individual photographer or through a stock agency. Under most circumstances the images are actually not sold but are leased with a licensing agreement but some images are sold with extended or even unlimited usage.

Rights Protected Vs. Royalty Free

Rights protected images are licensed for a specific period of time and for a specific application, which is negotiated in advance. The reason one would use rights protected imagery is to prevent competitors from using the same image in the same marketplace. Only after the prescribed period has elapsed is the image free to be licensed for another application. Another option is purchasing complete exclusivity for a period of time where the image is licensed to only one client and no one else. In this case, the fee would be considerably higher as the image is taken out of circulation until that license has elapsed.

In contrast, royalty free stock photography gives the image buyer the option to use the image in as many ways as desired while only paying one fee.

Where Is Stock Photography Applicable?

Today stock photography is applicable in every conceivable market, which utilizes photography. It is routinely used in advertising, editorial, brochures, multimedia, catalogs, annual reports, record albums, television commercials, posters, calendars, greeting cards, credit cards, AV shows, and it is widely used on the web. The market for stock photography is expanding at a rapid pace with new uses every day.

How Is Stock Photography Produced?

Stock photographs are produced in two basic ways. Photographers retain rights to the images they produce on assignment for clients and turn those images into stock photography or they actually fund elaborate productions to generate images specifically for stock.

What Are the Basic Benefits of Stock Photography?

WYSIWYG or what you see is what you get. In traditional assignment photography a photographer is hired to illustrate an idea or capture some event. There is a creative fee to pay, which can be in the thousands per day, and there are expenses including: travel, assistants, film & processing, talent, stylists etc. The cost can be downright prohibitive and there are NO GUARANTEES. Stock photography offers the guarantee. The user can see the image without paying for the cost of the whole shoot.

The other big benefit of stock photography is the ability for an end user to see images fast and in some cases immediately. For today’s fast paced society many times there is simply no time to wait for a particular image to be photographed and stock offers that solution.

For the photographer the benefits of stock photography are enormous. Over time many images will generate far more income than did the actual assignment. Many images have a long lifetime and will generate income for years to come. A decent collection can not only double a photographers annual income but can also continue to generate income even after he or she is retired.

What Are the Pitfalls of Stock Photography?

For the client the biggest pitfall to stock photography is that the images may not be exclusive to them and in fact may very well have been published many times before. It is possible to buy stock images with exclusivity but the cost is far greater and may or may not be available for a specific image.

For the photographer there are several issues, which become pitfalls with regard to stock photography. If the photographer sells through an agency it usually takes months after a sale before the photographer gets paid. There is also the basic fact that most agencies take 50% on a stock photography sale and more if the image is sold overseas through a sub agent. There is a great deal of time spent getting images ready for sale including captioning, categorizing, key wording etc. If the photographer produces images specifically for stock there are no guarantees the images will ever be sold and it might take years just to receive enough income to cover your expenses.

What Constitutes a Good Stock Photograph?

Ahh, this is the magic question. The whole idea of shooting stock is to make money; so deciding what and what not to shoot is something that needs to be given serious consideration. If you intend stock photography to be a profit-making venture then you need to think carefully about the type of things you photograph, otherwise you will end up investing a lot of time and money with no return. First consider the type of pictures you take and how commercial they are. It’s almost impossible to look at a selection of stock images and say which ones are going to be best sellers, but you can pretty much guarantee that some subjects will sell . Landscapes and travel are highly popular subjects, but you have to have something really special or different. I always like to say bring back fantastic images from regular places or bring back regular images from a fantastic place. Subjects like science, business, medical, lifestyle and concepts tend to generate much higher fees. There are far fewer photographer shooting such subjects, and access for some of these may be tough, so competition is less. Cost effectiveness should also be given serious consideration if you see stock as a long-term investment. Yes, taking pictures in Antarctica for example may seem idyllic, but if it uses up your capital for the rest of the year you may very well end up idyllic and in the poorhouse.

Trying to judge when an image is a good stock picture is one of the toughest things in the world. I for example have a photograph of a staircase shot on the way to a class I was teaching, which is nothing more than an orange staircase. For some reason this image keeps selling over and over again and I still don’t consider it a fantastic image. On the other hand I have an image of an absolutely gorgeous mixed race boy who was a Gap model and the image is one of my least selling images of all time. My suggestion is to shoot everything, carrying a camera with you at all times. Shoot first and try and license later.

What else Constitutes a Good Stock Photograph?

RELEASES, RELEASES, RELEASES. We live in a litigious society and if you are going to license stock photographs you are going to need to make sure that you have model releases for all identifiable people and property releases for all identifiable property including things like dogs and cats. Having a release will make the images worth more money and in many cases is the decision maker for licensing or not licensing an image.

Where to and How to License

Probably the best way to license stock is through an agent or stock agency. Most operate along similar lines – photographers submit work on a regular basis, it is edited, marketed and distributed. The two largest agencies in the world are Corbis and Getty and both produce slick catalogs and have vast distribution around the world using the web and agents. The agency takes a 50% to 70% from all sales and the photographer gets the rest. The most important thing to bear in mind is that stock photography should be thought of as a long-term investment. I have several thousand images with different agents around the world and now get a nice monthly sum, but it took years to build up this collection.

Many would-be contributors think that all they have to do is send off their latest batch of pictures then sit back and wait for the money. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple. Many agencies aren’t even accepting new photographers and the ones that are accepting new photographers are really looking for the crème of the crop. When a new photographer joins an agency it could take many months before their work is even online. After that it can also take one, perhaps two years for the images to start selling. It is vitally important to keep on submitting new work and building the collection because your odds of licensing are directly attributable to the amount of images you have in a collection. ?Ultimately, stock photography is a numbers game – the more pictures you have with the agency, the more sales you will likely make. ? At the top end of the market there are some talented photographers who earn enormous sums of money from just a handful of shots. It’s not uncommon for certain images in a stock catalogue to sell perhaps 100 times over two or three years and gross$ 50,000 or more. Recently one agency licensed one image for $230,000 but for the vast majority of photographers stock photography is not nearly so lucrative. The cost of the equipment is high and there are many, many stock images in the market.

Can You License Yourself?

Yes. I license a great deal of my work through my own website and there are other resources like collectives and co-op’s where photographers can license work. The benefit of licensing yourself is the control and typically the price of the license is higher for an individual in part because there is no split but it is tough to get the distribution and marketing power that an agency has.

Tips to make your images more valuable as stock:

  • Make sure the images are technically good.
    There is no such thing as almost sharp. Stock photographs have to be technically perfect. Take the time to honestly look at your images before trying to place them as stock. If they have flaws they won’t sell.
  • It’s a numbers game
    Assuming you can take sharp, well composed, strong images, the more pictures you have on a site, the more money you will make. Keep working at building the collection.
  • Don’t let rejection stop you
    Just because one site turns down your images does not mean another one will. Don’t take picture rejection personally. Find out why a picture was rejected, learn from the mistakes but understand licensing images is very subjective and one persons rejection is another person’s perfection.
  • Upload to multiple sites
    Unless you are going the exclusive route, find several good sites and upload to all of them. It will dramatically increase your potential sales because it increases your distribution.
  • Use IPTC to add Captions, headlines, keywords, descriptions, and titles to your images
    Information is everything and I can’t stress how important it is to caption your images and use keywords to further describe the images.
  • Keywords are key
    Take the time to do the best job you can keywording your pictures. The keywords are how a potential buyer finds your pictures. The best keyword in the world will not make you a cent if you do not keyword it so the person that might want your picture can find it. It is not fun, but it is worth the effort. When keywording don’t forget about both Subject Keywords like Who, what, when, where, why, but also Concept Keywords like love or happiness. This is critically important for advertising sales.
    Model and property releases are absolutely critical.

For additional information about pricing and digital workflow:

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Creativity Webinar tonight at 8:30 PM EST- Seeing Color: Creating Dynamic Images

November 22nd, 2010 |  by Comments off


Exercise is not only smart for your heart it can also make you a better photographer. We all know that without exercise we get out of shape and our bodies change and not in a positive way. In much the same way that our bodies get out of shape without using our muscles, as a photographer my cognitive and visual capabilities decrease if I don’t shoot images almost every day. As a professional photographer I have the luxury of being able to carry a camera every day and thus always tweaking my skills but many folks don’t have this luxury and if they haven’t shot pictures in a while they feel visually about the same as not exercising.

Today almost everyone owns a camera. The process of taking a picture has become so simple that even a child can do it but it takes a truly special vision to capture the world in a graphically brilliant manner in 1/500 of a second. Over the years I have picked up many photographic exercises that I regularly practice and teach my students to keep them in shape and make them into better photographers.

The Invisible Circle

One of my favorite exercises is draw an imaginary circle of any diameter around you in any location. Any location will work just fine. Whether you are in a room with 4 white walls or on beach with a spectacular sunset simply draw an invisible circle of any diameter around you and force yourself to find images within that diameter. At first you may say that there is nothing here but as you begin to really open up your eyes and your mind you will no doubt find things that you would have otherwise passed over and many of these things can produce brilliant photographs. I recall teaching a class in Santa Fe and told the class that everyone must make an image within the confines of the classroom. At first the students said there is nothing here but soon they began to open their eyes. There were two brilliant images produced. One was a close up of the black bruises on a banana peel which was simply incredible. There was an abstract pattern on black and yellow which was vibrant and visually intoxicating. The second was a silhouette of handle of the drapes in the room. The sun came through the tweaded rope while the solid handle used to draw the shades was silhouetted in warm afternoon sunlight. Both of these images were brilliant and yet when we viewed the images as a class no one else in the class could figure out what was photographed to create these brilliant images.

I love this exercise and in almost every location I go to I still draw an invisible circle of some diameter and usually find something graphically appealing in even the most mundane locations.

Triangles in the corners

Learning exactly what lens to use and where to stand and how to frame a shot is a challenge for many photographers. When we are attracted to a subject we tend to look towards the center of the viewfinder and rarely pay attention to the periphery. It is in the periphery where we find things that detract from the image. It may be a branch sticking in or a pattern of color. Jay Maisel once pointed out to me that these extra-unwanted items tend to exist in the corners of our images forming triangular patterns. If you have a triangle in the corner of one of your images and want to determine if it adds to the photograph or detracts from it, cover up everything except the triangle and if the triangle is important, keep it in. More than likely the triangle will be an area of black or white or a branch and by itself is anything but a good image. In this case crop the image and remove the triangles. As an exercise when you are framing an image take your eyes and glance to the periphery in the viewfinder. Look for triangles being formed and if you see them it is a good indication that you need to move in tighter on your subject. Space is defined and determined by shapes and forms. Positive space is where shapes and forms exist; negative space is the empty space around shapes and forms. For images to have a sense of balance positive and negative space can be used to counter balance each other.

Learning the light

With today’s high tech cameras it is very easy to simply set the cameras on auto exposure and most of the time everything works. The problem is that you never really get to learn exposure and most likely when you shoot in snow or on the beach or in backlit locations you will end up unhappy with your photographs. An excellent exercise to help you but comprehend light and exposure is to walk around with either a hand held light meter or even your digital SLR set on manual. Start out by going into a room and try and determine the exposure for the ambient light in the room with your naked eye. After you make a guestimation, check your light meter and see how close you are. If you practice this exercise for about a week you will get good enough so that your brain becomes the true light meter. You will know when your camera is right and when it is wrong and when you need to compensate for mother nature as in a beach scene or snow. With a little practice you can become quite accurate. I can walk into almost any lighting condition and guess usually within a 1/4 of stop the ambient light. This helps tremendously when you are shooting and trying to use lighting to control the mood of a scene.

Taking photographs without a camera

A fantastic exercise to do with a group is to have everyone sit in a circle and look carefully at their surroundings. Each individual sketches an image that they could produce within an area that is visible to the group. One by one you go around the circle and everyone shows their sketch and talks about what they would have photographed. It is very helpful and enriching to see what other people see in the same surroundings. This exercise truly helps one open both their eyes and their mind by developing the skills for previsualization. A follow-up to this is to then have each person make the photograph that they sketched to see if they are capable of actually executing the image they visualized.

Front Light, Side Light, Backlight

The texture, color and light of a subject change dramatically as you move 365 degrees around your subject. To many times photographers miss the best location to photograph from because they remain stationary once they see something. Next time you are attracted to a subject try to walk around the subject photographing it from all sides. This is a wonderful way of learning how light changes a photograph.

A similar exercise is to photograph a subject from the exact same position from sunrise to sunset. As the earth rotates the light dramatically changes the subject. Yet another variation of this is photographing the same subject throughout a year as both climate and light change the composition

Rule of thirds

The “Rule of Thirds” is the most common means for determining where to place the subject in a photograph. It’s based on the concept that the strength of an image improves when the main subject is placed at key locations away from the center of the frame. Essentially, Imaginary lines are drawn dividing the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. You place important elements of your composition where these lines intersect.

Typically we have been trained to place things in the center of the frame.  If you were to draw a picture of your house you would most likely place it in the center of the page. The problem, of course, is that placing the subject in the center of the frame normally provides little interest for the viewer. The brain works very logically.  If the brain expects to find something in the center of a picture, and it’s located there, the brain is not very excited. Placing the subject away from the center provides visual stimulation. The Rule of Thirds can be used to weigh an image.

Light and Dark

Light colors are less stimulating than dark colors when they fill approximately the same amount of space in the frame. Thus, a large dark area is more attractive to the brain than a white area of the same size. Also, an element that takes up more physical space in the frame is more visually stimulating than an element that uses less space. We can “bottom weight” an image by placing the top of our subject along the lower third of our image.  Locating the top of the subject below the lower third gives it even less emphasis. We can also “top-weight” an image by placing it along the upper third of the frame.

Breaking Personal Space Develop a repoire with your subject

Generally when photographing people we are comfortable at a distance and lens choice that doesn’t invade their personal space. When we do this we end up being an observer rather than a participant in the scene. When photographing people or even animals it is important for the camera to cause the viewer to be a participant not just an observer. One way to do this is intentionally invade someone’s personal space. Getting closer than might be comfortable will evoke emotion and reaction from the subject and this can be the difference between a good photograph and a fantastic one.

Add Depth

Depth is an important quality of good photography. We want the viewer participate in a three-dimensional world. Adding elements to assist the brain can help. If your subject is a sunset on the beach adding a person in the foreground will help create depth.   Images with depth tend to be more compelling than ones that look “flat.”  Avoid joining the foreground and background. Remember that if you are photographing a three-dimensional seen the image may be reduced to one plane and kill the image. The typical case is photographing a person in front of a tree, resulting in an image where it looks like the tree is growing out of his head.

Focal Points

One method of creating visual strength in an image is to create focal points that draw the viewer’s eye to that area. Focal points compel the viewer to look at them first. Isolating a subject creates a natural focal point. Throwing everything in the scene out of focus except for the main subject is another example of this technique. The viewer’s eye is attracted to whatever is sharp in the image. While on the topic of sharpness, in most photographs there is no such thing as almost sharp. The brain wants to see something sharp not almost sharp. Almost sharp simply isn’t there. The brain won’t accept a basketball player dunking the ball who isn’t sharp. The viewer’s eye can’t remain focused on an area that is out of focus. That said, there is also generally a problem when everything in an image is sharp. Now the problem becomes the brain perceiving the image as cluttered.  Keep it simple. Having clutter will cause eye fatigue for the viewer.  Where you place the horizon in your shot affects what is emphasized.

Contrast in tone or color between elements is yet another way of creating a strong focal point or havoc in the image. If for example the image is equally divided between two tones, the viewer will become confused, because each will compete against each other. Think about the classic sun setting on the ocean. If the horizon line is placed in the center of the frame, both the sky and water take up an equal amount of space. The viewer feels uncomfortable not knowing really where to focus. This image will lack strength, and the viewer will quickly forget it. If the horizon is lowered placing emphasis on the sun the image will be helped. Raising the horizon places emphasis on the water.


Asking students to photograph themselves is always a challenge and a reward. It forces one to think creatively. Do you show your face? Do you show the camera? Usually the most basic self-portraits and thus the least interesting are images shot in a mirror while the most interesting are simply reflections or shadows. A similar exercise which is even more challenging and helps tremendously with creativity, comfort and personal space is to photograph someone you don’t know like a classmate in the nude. I have over the years asked classes to pair up with someone and after the pairs form; I have asked them to photograph each other naked.

Be creative. Standup bend down and lie down

The best photographs are made when the photographer chooses a vantage point to suit the subject, and it is surprising how few subjects are suited by the height of a human standing. When photographing a subject, standup, lie down, bend down and continually move. You will be surprised at how strong an image can become when you change your point of view with a new angle. Also, even if you turn around, something fantastic might just be in your viewfinder. Using a ladder or standing on a sidewalk just to boost your height by a few inches can also dramatically change the scene and composition of your photograph.

Framing a scene

The use of a frame can turn an otherwise plain picture into an incredible one. Usually a foreground element is used to create the frame. Using a window or an arch or a door can isolate and successfully frame a subject making it more visually compelling. A frame can also successfully help to create depth. When you are composing a shot, watch the foreground, middle ground and background. Not only watch them as frames but also as keep your eye on the various planes of color that occur. You may need to physically back up a bit, kneel down for a more pleasant composition, or zoom in to include your subject within your chosen frame.

Fill the frame.

Your minds eye tends to exaggerate what you see through the viewfinder of your camera. You often perceive things a bit bigger than they actually are and you also tend not to notice ‘slight’ distractions like the branch growing out of the side of the frame. Keep things simple and move in to fill the frame. Finding the proper vantage point is tough and when photographing people it is much easier not to fill the frame and not to break their personal space but this won’t lead to a dynamic image.  Make sure your subject fills the frame. The best way to do this is to move in closer and watch the periphery of the frame. Before you press that shutter release have a quick look round the edge of the frame and behind your subject.

Ask yourself: What are you photographing?

Are you photographing the bug or the flower? Before you click the shutter ask yourself are you shooting what you are seeing or are you simply pressing the button? Letting extraneous elements interject will distract the viewer from what you want to portray. Crop your image before you shoot it and keep it simple. The goal of many photographers is to create an image that exhibits some underlying organization so the viewer sees what the photographer intends for them to see, but leaves enough ambiguity within the frame of the image so the viewer has to put forth some effort to explore and fully appreciate the image. New photographers often include too many elements in their images and can often improve their composition by removing unessential elements. Beyond a certain point, however an image that is too simple fails to hold ones attention

Color or the Absence of Color

Color is an obvious attraction to many photographers. As a professional photographer I always use to tell my assistants that all we need is a women in red generally referring to the addition of dynamic color to help make an image strong but the absence of color often enhances our perception of form as well.   Light emitted from above and to the side when applied to portraits creates what is often referred to as “Rembrandt lighting” and shooting into the sun can create dramatic silhouettes.  Sometimes it is the lack of color or color becoming monochrome, which can help to create drama.


Images can have rhythm in much the same way that music has rhythm.  In photography the repetition of similar shapes sets up a rhythm that makes seeing easier and more enjoyable. A fence or a line of trees has rhythm and rhythm is soothing to our eyes and soul. To be effective, rhythm also requires some irregularity. It is the out of place picket or tree that really makes an image of trees or fences unique. Therefore when composing your images look for repetition with variation.


Sometimes the strongest images may be the ones that are only comprised of form, color, texture and light and may not be anything concrete at all. An abstraction is something that’s not readily identifiable as a picture “of” something. It’s nonfigurative. Instead, it evokes associations and emotions by division of space in and of itself. The important thing to remember is that photographs can be very strong without actually being a photograph of anything in the literal sense of the word.

Changing the lens or not.

While most photographers love to travel with every lens they own, I find that going out to shoot with every lens I own normally leads to spending more time looking in my camera bag rather than viewing the world I am trying to photograph. One exercise, which I learned from one of my own mentors, is simply to take one lens and walk around with it. Rather than spending your time deciding on what lens to use, you end up opening your eyes to what can I do with this lens. In the end you train yourself to see with a given lens and this is extremely helpful. Each day you go out pick a different lens and pay careful attention at how your images change.


It was Jay Maisel who taught me about gesture and it’s importance in an image. Many times it is the gesture of the image, which truly becomes the moment captured in time. Gesture doesn’t always have to come from a person. A tree leaning to the side has gesture, as does a flying bird. Gesture can also be in the form of emotion as in a crying or laughing child. Gesture helps to create moments and moments help to separate a simple picture from a true photograph.


Shadows and light create drama and far too many photographers think that shadows ruin an image. Try creating images using shadows and making the shadows darker or lighter than they appear to the eye by controlling the exposure. Doing so can help truly create dramatic images. Without shadows, a subject has no form, or texture and appears flat. Shadows don’t have to be dominant and harsh to achieve the effects of form, and texture. They can be soft, to show the most delicate light, shape and form. Generally, harsh, black shadows cause problems especially in reproduction because of loss of detail but from a compositional standpoint, black shadows can be very useful in balancing a scene and directing attention to the point of interest. Harsh shadows can also be excellent for emphasizing texture and form, for creating interesting patterns, and for directing attention.


Texture is fascinating and can provide a very important role in the drama of an image. Texture can help create depth, dimension and emotion and too often it is overlooked. The smoothness of skin or the rough edge of peeling paint is examples of texture. In fact it is texture, which is many times the appealing quality of an abstract image. Texture helps to emphasize the features and details in a photograph. By capturing “texture” of objects being photographed, you can create form.

When people observe a soft, object or something like ripples on water they have an urge to touch it.  Texture can be used to give realism and character to a picture and may in itself be the subject of a photograph. It usually takes just a little different lighting or a slight change in camera position to improve the rendering of texture in a picture. When an area in a photograph shows rich texture, the textured area usually creates a form or shape. Texture is most commonly brought out with an oblique angle of light, (sidelight) which accentuates things like cracks, bumps and ridges to create the textured effect. Textures give depth and “feeling” to a subject.  Look for the play of shadows on surfaces. Watch for the direction of the light and how it creates shapes and lines and forms and adds dimension to your subject. Three-quarters light makes things appear round, capturing the three dimensional depth of the subject. Front light, while it tends to flatten out the textures and cast shadows behind the subject, can illuminate the details in the texture such as the fine patterns, lines, or colors in the subject.


The things that stimulate me are light, texture, gesture and color. These qualities make photography spectacularly rewarding. Like anything in life practice helps to make perfection and photography requires practice, which brings me to the most important exercise of all which is simply to make sure you are carrying a camera. Without the camera there can be no perfection and carrying the camera can exercise not only the mind but it also qualifies as physical exercise. Understanding elements of visual design and how they can affect our emotions will help make you a better photographer. While no rule or guideline is absolute and can’t guarantee success, practice and exercises can help develop the skills necessary to become a successful photographer. A successful image is dependent on many characteristics coming working together and a viewer that is sensitive to what it is you are trying to communicate. Of course some of the most stunning images break all the rules, which is why they are stunning, but in the end practice and exercise will help make you a much better photographer.

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Categories: Creativity, Webinars

D65 launches our new book- D65’s Lightroom Workbook Workflow, Not Workslow in Lightroom 3

June 10th, 2010 |  by Comments off

D-65’s workflow is accomplished by using Adobe Lightroom.  D65’s Lightroom Workbook, Workflow Not Workslow details everything you ever wanted or needed to know about the five modules in Lightroom, including setting up preferences for optimal results and organizing catalogs. Included is an entire chapter which details the D-65 legendary workflow;  an advanced, yet simple workflow from capture through editing, tweaking, processing and exporting. The book also covers many digital concepts such as color space, shooting raw, file naming and archiving. D-65 was one of the first and foremost companies teaching Lightroom workflow, and the incredibly successful program, which is still the standard that others go by, has taught thousands of photographers worldwide. Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer are the perfect guides to lead you through the maze of technical problems and practical challenges that stand between you and a seamless digital workflow with Lightroom at the core. Seth Resnick has worked with the Lightroom development team since its inception and knows the program inside and out.

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Categories: D65's Lightroom Book