Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pricing & Negotiating Photography - One Solution

When I find programs that I think are worthwhile, I send them your direction, and such is the case with Pricing and Negotiating, ASMP's program featuring Susan Carr on pricing, and Blake Discher on negotiating. While the schedule of where they will be can be found here, next weekend - May 30th, they will be in Richmond Virginia giving a Saturday morning presentation. Here are the details for that:

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What Do I Charge?

Susan Carr presents a candid discussion on licensing and pricing your work.

Seminar topics:
  • What you need to know about copyright.
  • A real world look at how to license photography.
  • Why are copyright, licensing and pricing connected?
  • Pricing models.

  • Learn the steps to determining what to charge.
  • Selling your price.

I Stink At Negotiating

Join Blake Discher for his highly acclaimed “Strictly Business 2” lecture on how to win jobs.

Seminar topics:
  • Learn how to prepare for a negotiation.
  • Researching the client.
  • Increasing your clout.
  • Listening skills.
  • When is it time to walk away?
  • The follow-up is critical.
This will be four hours of packed information that will be well worth your while to attend. You can register by clicking here.

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

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Zackary Canepari - NYT Staged Photo Controversy

Zackary Canepari has a pretty big problem. At the ripe old age of 30 or so, he is likely now persona non-grata at the New York Times, and his journalistic ethics will also likely give other editorial publications pause to hire him.

PDNPulse first reported, in New York Times Withdraws Posed News Photo (5/19/08), about the photo above, and the Times' withdrawal of the photograph, including an apology that PDN ran.

What was this photographer thinking when he staged a news photo?

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While we have not spoken to Zack, his Lightstalkers page shows he's been in and out of India and the Middle East for almost two years, and according to Verve Photo, in this article Zack Canepari - The New Breed of Documentary Photographers (2/27/09), he's been a photographer since 2003. Canepari started doing portraits - making images happen, not standing back and waiting for them to happen.

Unfortunately, when publications pay a pittance for their photographers, and do not pay a living wage, the photographers with the integrity necessary to work for the top publications in the world do other things - their own projects, books, commercial work, and so on. Heck, even a few teach classes and workshops. Because the New York Times has not, well, pardon the pun, kept up with the times, in terms of pay, they have reapt what they have sown. I would not be surprised that there are others they didn't catch, and in an era where photographers are driven to compete, whether Zack's posed photo, which is over the line, to the Reuters photographer with the "enhanced" smoke , which is egregiously over the line, until photographers are paid fairly enough that they can do their jobs - and, it should be said, are staffers with job security, pressures like this will continue to errode the public's trust in journalistic works. The problem is, once people realize this and think about course-correcting, it will be too late, and visual journalism will have been dealt a mortal blow around the world.

If, as Verve Photo suggests, Zack is "the new breed of documentary photography", the world of photojournalism is in dire straits indeed.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Mis-Steps

The Smithsonian is responsible for a lot of amazing things. This year, they're responsible for one thing that is, frankly, an abomination - the devaluation of intellectual property - at the annual 2009 Folklife Festival.

A call when out recently, which read, in part:

We are specifically looking for volunteers with experience in audio, video, and photo documentation. As a documentation volunteer you will be asked to assist with recording performances, interviews, and presentations in different program areas. In addition, photography volunteers will be asked to take photos of specific subjects
along with general happenings at the festival.

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So, the Smithsonian is looking for a few good men...err....chumps? Rubes? It's one thing to ask a fan of golf who would have paid to attend a golf tournament as one of those guys that holds up the "Quiet" signs, since there are no professional sign holders like that. The Smithsonian has an amazing team of photographers that work diligently in their museums, and who not only look forward to getting outside during the festival, but no doubt also enjoy the overtime or comp-time they get from doing all that extra work. Further, they are professionals, who know what they're doing, and how to do it.

They've solicited for photographers on Craigslist, and overall are looking for people for a total of ten days worth of work. Who's going to screen these people for the right gear? The right skill-set? Who's going to manage the intake of all the images, with proper and accurate captions? What all-rights-in-perpetuity-without-pay contract will they be asked to sign?

Photographers....err...Documentation Aides, will be asked to attend a pre-production meeting volunteer orientation on Saturday during the late morning. Then, they will be assigned things and places to photograph. Yes, this is work.

James Smithson, who founded the Smithsonian, for the purposes of an "increase and diffusion of knowledge", is probably rolling over in his sarcophagus right now in the castle in DC. He died in 1829, and ten years later Daguerre made the first ever photo of a person, making his "daguerreotype" showing a city street with a man getting a shoe shine in Paris, and heck, France agreed to pay Daguerre a pension for his formula, provided he declare his discovery as being a gift to the World from France, which he happily did, in 1839. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is clearly not honoring the French this year - they are honoring "The Power of Words in African American Culture"; "The Americas: A Musical World"; and "Wales Smithsonian Cymru highlights the creative culture of this dynamic country". Nothing like celebrating amazing creativity on one hand, while stamping on the value and intellectual property of the visual creative community with both feet, like so many fragile grapes, destined for a wine bottle. Yet, after the fact, the photographs, lack of solid captions, great-pictures-if-it-weren't-for-the-fact-that-it-was-shot-on-small-jpeg, and so many other professional-level services will be the swill that the organizers will be tasting. Sure, there will be a few gems - even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile, but how many things that should have been documented, will be lost to the mis-steps of amateur hobbyists who will try to fill the shoes of professional photographers?

It's one thing to ask people to send in their favorite photos, or even for the Smithsonian folks to browse Flickr looking for great folklife festivals, and then having the museum encapsulate them in some way, but to be looking for day-in and day-out volunteers to work (yes, Documentation Aide appears under "Work Descriptions" on the Volunteer Questionaire, so it will be work), is just plain wrong. It may be well-intentioned, but as my mom tells me - the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival should utilize it's talented in-house team of photographers, and leave the one-chance-only documentation of this event to the professionals.

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

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