Friday, September 25, 2009

PhotoPlus Expo 2009 - Your Best Plan of Action

PhotoPlus Expo is fast approaching, and there are a ton of seminars to see, and registration is open. We feel that there will always be resources to learn about lighting and software, so instead, we'll give you the same "Best Course of Action" for all three days that we did last year for your business-side of things. However, last year, we gave you one recommendation, this year, we'll give you a few alternate recommendations. Our "Best Choice" recommendations are in red. Here Goes:

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Oct 22, 2009 - 8:45 AM to 11:45 AM
BEST CHOICE: How to Get Work from Ad Agencies (Link)
Presenting: Sarah Galkin, Andrea Kaye, JoAnne Tansman, moderated by Debra Weiss
Description: Many changes have taken place in the ad industry and many more are to come. With more and more slashed budgets, growing competition and fewer jobs what's a photographer to do? Join us for a roundtable discussion with two art buyers and a creative director and hear what you need to make it as an advertising photographer. Gain insight into what it takes to get their attention, how they choose the photographers they work with and how to build lasting beneficial relationships. You'll hear panelists' honest and frank perspectives on how you can succeed in this rapidly changing and increasingly impersonal business. This seminar is a must for photographers looking to increase their chance of getting work from ad agencies. Sponsored by ADBASE
My Comments: This panel discussion has been a tried-and-true presentation, with valuable insights from each panelist.

Oct 22, 2009 - 11:45 AM to 1:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: LUNCH and the show floor (here's a link to the Javits Food Court offerings)
My Comments: Now is the time to grab a quick sandwich and take a quick spin around the show floor for 45 to 60 minutes to pinpoint your "must see" booths, for later.

Oct 22, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: Is Your Website Making You Money? (Link)
Presenting: Blake Discher
Description: Each day, there are 300 million searches on the Internet. According to Forrester Research, 81 percent of consumers on the Internet find products or services using search engines. According to StatMarket, only 7 percent of all Web sites are visible on search engines. In this three-hour seminar, Blake Discher shares how he succeeds in having his Web site consistently place at the top of the major search engines, resulting in increased billings and greater visibility for his business. Photographers, studio managers and artist's representatives will learn about the importance of proper keyword phrases and links, site design and copywriting that is search-engine friendly. Learn more about pay-per-click search engine marketing and how to achieve excellent organic search results. In addition, Discher will discuss how to effectively implement a link-building campaign to increase page rank, perhaps the single most important aspect of search engine optimization. Sponsored by ASMP, ADBASE & LiveBooks
My Comments: Blake has given talks on this subject for a few years, updating it as the web evolves. If you've seen it, go see it again and get refreshed, otherwise, check out the panel below.

Oct 22, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Tools for Selling Stock Direct (Link)
Presenting: Fred Benenson, Ellen Boughn, Pam Fischer, Allan Murbayashi, Rahul Pathak
Description: We are very close to a convergence of technology and evolving search behavior that will enable photographers to license their existing images directly to clients as never before. Learn how from representatives of companies on the cutting edge of these technologies: Photo Shelter, ImageSpan, LookStat and Creative Commons. PhotoShelter has great tools for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and ImageSpan offers a soup-to-nuts program for licensing stock direct. LookStat provides microstock photographers with detailed information about their own licenses, eliminating reliance on traditional stock shooting tips. Finally, Creative Commons offers a series of licenses widely used on Flickr. It has possibilities for teaching emerging photographers which images are the most popular, helping them to refine their style and monetize their best images. Handouts will be provided. Sponsored by Agency Access
My Comments: As people realize that they have all the tools at their disposal to monetize their image archives, knowing how to do that - direct - without the aide of a traditional photo agency, will be valuable knowledge. Ths program will give you those insights, or set you in the right direction to begin to grow your understanding of what's involved.

Oct 22, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: What do I Charge? (Link)
Presenting: Susan Carr
Description: Are your clients asking for more and paying less? Are your costs increasing? Are you struggling with how to determine your fees? And, what about talking to clients about price? Susan Carr takes the mystery out of determining your fees and setting licensing terms as she presents real world strategies for pricing in this tough business climate. Topics to be covered include: what you need to know about copyright; why copyright, how licensing and pricing are connected; a real world look at how to license photography; different pricing models; steps to determining what to charge; and selling your price. Sponsored by ASMP
My Comments: I've known Susan for several years, and her presentations are always top-notch. When it comes to developing pricing models that are best suited to you, her presentation will be a sure thing!

Oct 22, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Stepping Up to Larger Production Commercial Shoots (Link)
Presenting: Kareem Black, Celeste Holt-Waters, Conor Risch, Kathryn Tyrrel, Bette Wilkes
Description: In this seminar photographers will learn from top photo industry professionals how commercial shoots of every size are successfully planned and produced. Photographers will gain a top-to-bottom understanding of commercial production, from the ins and outs of the bidding and planning processes, to communicating effectively with creatives, clients, crews and talent on the day of the shoot. Seminar attendees will also learn how to pitch themselves to buyers and build portfolios that land them their first production-heavy jobs. A photographer will also discuss the success strategies that have allowed him to land increasingly complex commercial jobs. Sponsored by PDN
My Comments: If you feel like your pricing systems are in place, and you want to take your business to the next level, don't miss this presentation.

Oct 22, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Light & The Dramatic Portrait (Link)
Presenting: Michael Grecco
Description: Michael Grecco, author of the bestselling book Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait, creates highly stylized portraits that have been featured in numerous publications, including Esquire, Maxim and TIME. Using his own work as a reference, Grecco will explain his techniques for rendering light and shadow, and will demonstrate how he creates his stylistic and dramatic images. He will share work from his latest book, Naked Ambition: An R-Rated Look at an X-Rated Industry, and other current projects. He will also discuss the specialty lights, equipment and setups he used to compose the striking signature look for this new work. The last 20 minutes of this seminar will be a Q&A, during which time some of Grecco's specialty gear will be shown. Handouts will be provided.
My Comments:Michael has a unique perspective and a no-B.S. approach to photography, and the business of photography.

Oct 22, 2009 - 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: Greg Heisler Presents: Arnold Newman, Impact & Influence (Link)
Presenting: Greg Heisler
Description: "We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds." This poignant message to engage the medium with intelligence and compassion, as quoted by legendary portrait photographer Arnold Newman, has deeply impacted generations of photographers. In this special presentation award-winning photographer (and former Arnold Newman assistant) Gregory Heisler, will share his personal perspective on Newman's work and legacy, along with a presentation of indelible images from his own thirty-year career. Also in attendance, representing the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation, Newman's sons Eric and David will join Heisler to announce the Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture.
My Comments: Heisler's program will be a great way to close out the day and enjoy amazing images.

Oct 23, 2009 - 9AM PM to 1:15 PM
My Comments: Hit the show floor. Visit the places you identified the day before, and do more in-depth research. Sleep on your decisions, and make your final purchasing decisions tomorrow.

Oct 23, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: Super Sites: Successful Self-Promotion for the Digital Age (Link)
Presenting: Rebecca Crumley, Louisa Curtis, Richard Maltz, Lorraine McNeil-Popper, Erin Rabasch
Description: With all the new ways of letting prospective clients know who you are and what you do, "one size fits all" just does not cut it in today's market. Whether you shoot advertising, editorial, fine art or weddings your Web site is the most important tool to showcase your work and your visual brand. This panel of esteemed photo buyers will discuss not only what makes a Web site that clients want to bookmark, but also how to steer them to your site and make them want to return regularly. The panelists will weigh in on new and buzzworthy ways to "sell" yourself, such as having your own blog or using social networking sites, and will share their self-promotional do's and don'ts. The discussion will culminate with a "live critique" of willing audience members' Web sites. This is your chance to get candid, constructive feedback on your own marketing efforts! Handouts will be provided. Sponsored by LiveBooks & APA
My Comments: This is a great panel discussion and will help you to know better how to market yourself.

Oct 23, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: Strategic Estimating (Link)
Presenting: Jeff Sedlik
Description: Ever struggled with the wording of an estimate? Do you confidently respond to client requests for "buy-outs" and work-made for-hire terms? Do you know all of the most important factors to consider when quoting fees to your clients? Effective estimating is both an art and a science. To be successful, your estimate must be profitable, yet competitive. Learn how to generate estimates designed to win jobs and maximize your revenues and profits. Learn precisely what questions to ask your client, and how to best use their answers to win the job. Beginner to intermediate levels. Sponsored by PLUS
My Comments:WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT MISS THIS ONE (or mine!). Sedlik will give you clear and concise tools for estimating. I will absolutely positively be there!

Oct 23, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Starting Today, You're a Brand: Building Your Brand & Your Business (Link)
Presenting: Ken Carbone, Shama Hyer, Lynn Martin, Corey Rich, Todd Wasserman
Description: Whether you're a photographer, educator, independent consultant or corporate employee, developing a "personal brand" to market yourself isn't merely hip. . .it's a survival strategy. Young turks of marketing and social networking join successful photographers and seasoned industry insiders to explain, inspire, share their own experiences and outline the creative and strategic process of defining and establishing your brand online. You'll learn what's essential, where and how to source compelling content, how to use key sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others), video and other resources more efficiently and effectively, plus learn time-saving tips and what NOT to do online. All levels. Sponsored by Brandweek
My Comments: If you feel you know estimating, this is going to be a great alternative to Sedlik's program.

Oct 24, 2009 - 8:45 AM to 11:45 AM
BEST CHOICE: Negotiating With Clients & Best Business Practices For Photographers (LINK)
Presenting: John Harrington
Description: The art of negotiating takes time; this seminar offers a shortcut. John Harrington will offer insights into how he negotiates his assignments using real situations, including actual exchanges with clients. In this seminar, everything from tone to cadence to the selection of when—and how—to address the sticky details of your negotiation will be demonstrated and discussed. In addition, Harrington will touch on key considerations about how to run your business more efficiently and effectively in the current economic climate. Beginner to intermediate levels.
My Comments:Need I say more? Mine is, of course, a don't miss program!

Oct 24, 2009 - 11:45 PM to 1:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: Final Trip to Show Floor
My Comments: May your final decisions and purchases during this time.

Oct 24, 2009 - 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM
BEST CHOICE: 10 Steps to Becoming a Great Photographer (Link)
Presenting: Steve Simon
Description: There are no secrets, at least in this session, where Steve Simon deconstructs the elements that make good photographers great. Through this innovative 10-step process, Simon will help you transform your passion into a unique personal vision. He will take you out of your comfort zone to help you determine what you want to say with your work while providing practical knowledge to translate your feelings into strong content. Simon's presentation combines humor and poignancy as he takes you on an inspirational journey through his personal and compelling projects. His presentation is full of surprises, tips for balancing personal and commercial work, as well as insights for pushing your photographic limits to the next level of your journey as an image-maker. All levels.
My Comments:Steve knows his stuff, and will give you some real-world insights.

Oct 24, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
BEST CHOICE: Breaking into the Biz: What Every Student and Emerging Photographer Should Know
Presenting: Judy Herrmann, Mike Starke
Description: Sure, you want to be a commercial photographer and you've got talent, drive and ambition but where do you start? In this seminar, veteran photographers Judy Herrmann and Mike Starke will provide you with a wealth of resources and share real world tactics that will help you take your career where you want it to go. Topics include finding work as an assistant, portfolio development, marketing your work, as well as pricing and developing sound business practices. This seminar is ideal for students looking for guidance and advice; for emerging photographers seeking a more satisfying career path; and for anyone contemplating a career change into this exciting but challenging field. Handouts are available online. Beginner to intermediate levels.
Sponsored by ASMP
My Comments: We recommended this program last year, and reprise that BEST CHOICE recommendation again. If you saw it last year, and are implementing their recommendations, then check out the recommendation below.

Oct 24, 2009 - 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Photojournalism: What's Next in Storytelling (Link)
Presenting: Deanne Fitzmaurice
Description: Big changes are happening in our industry now, particularly in photojournalism, as budgets shrink at print outlets (magazines, newspapers) and readers turn to the Web for information. The good news is this has opened up new opportunities for photojournalists who want to learn new skills and new ways of storytelling using multimedia. Media outlets, corporations and NGOs are constantly looking for multimedia content for their Web sites, including still photos with audio and video. Diversifying and learning these new skills will make a photographer more marketable in these changing times. All levels. Sponsored by Microsoft
My Comments:Deanne is a great presenter, and will talk to you about her solutions and ideas about how to evolve in the contracting world of photojournalism.

Below is what your registration should look like. Note that because you have eight seminars, you get the "full conference" price of $495.


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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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Pay Lip-Service to Liability

Every day, people calculate what reasonable risk is, from crossing the street, to signing a contract where you agree to pay for the lawsuits that arise when you have indemnified your multi-million dollar corporate clients for their mis-uses of your photos beyond your control. A few weeks into a second year law student's licensing class, this academic (Indemnification, 9/22/09) somehow deigns that they can offer advice in the form of opinion about how you shouldn't have a "hissy fit" over indemnification issues. This is like getting a photographer in their sophomore year in college to shoot your ad job with millions of dollars in an ad buy and tens of thousands of dollars in pre and post-production on the line. Maybe it will work, but should you take the risk?

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More often than desirable, photographers get KILLED on indemnification, especially where there are people in the photographs and the client's usage of the image, including the text in the ads (which is outside of the control of the photographer, but which nevertheless results in a high level of liability to the photographer if the photographer is dumb enough to follow pay lip-service to issues of liability) results in a lawsuit by the models, even though the photographer obtained signed model releases. Lawyers all too often rip to shreds even signed model releases. Lawsuits will be for millions in lost modeling fees, emotional distress, etc.. Far exceeding the photographer's insurance against such things. Yes, millions.

It is one thing for photographers to indemnify their client against the photographers' actions, or those under the direction of the photographer (like an assistant). However, in the interests of parity, your contract should indemnify you against their mis-use of the images outside of the scope of the license and/or model release, it's only fair.

The bigger problem is that photographers are all to often told that the terms of a contract are non-negotiable. On the point that these are negotiable, we can agree. Everything is negotiable. Heck, the old joke applies - the man who offers a million dollars to sleep with a beautiful woman who agrees, is then asked "well would you take $50k?" She responds "who do you think I am?" To which the man replies "we've already established you are a prostitute, now we're just haggling over the price."

That "hissy-fit" you might have been having will look like you didn't even put up a fight when a judgement that exceeds your business insurance means you have to sell your home to cover the judgement against you. (By the way, this isn't theoretical, it has happened.) Have a real lawyer, one who has graduated, passed the bar, and has some experience under their belt, give you advice that you pay for, and have one skilled AND EXPERIENCED in contracts look at yours to make sure they are lawful for your jurisdiction. Have your lawyer look at indemnification clauses, or compare the ones in your contract against the ones you are being presented with, and negotiate for the terms that are in yours. Really. Not doing this could well mean that the proverbial wheels, doors, and chrome trim will fall off the vehicle that is your business, and there won't be enough auto parts in the world to put humpty dumpty back together again.

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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On failure

76 seconds of your life taking a look at how failure does not preclude future success:

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Marketing is NOTHING like Dating

Contrary to what some people might mislead you to believe (Dating No 1), marketing is nothing like dating. In marketing, you are trying to establish a business relationship whereby you provide a service, for a fee, and the client gets to benefit from your creativity. In the dating world, this would thus be a "car date", and in dating, you are trying each other out for the possibility of a long-term deeply personal relationship, not a financial one. Women, In those instances, are referred to as gold diggers, or worse.

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In irresponsible dating, you spot someone you find attractive, and then fumble through the process of seeing if you are compatible. If you were to exercise this approach in your marketing efforts, your level of failure would be very very high. In fact, photographers every day practice "dating" marketing. Looking at the publications like Vanity Fair or National Geographic as printed parallels to an available Jennifer Anniston or Brad Pitt, photographers drool at the notion of working for these magazines much like fans drool over attractive celebrities, and barrel head on trying to "get with them". The problem is, there is no 400 lb body guard protecting those photo editors from the dolts and floozies that are throwing themselves upon the VF/NGS/etc alters in an irresponsible way. These photographers don't bother to see if they are a good fit, like the photographer Jeffrey Thayer did when he made his recent "pilgrimage" to NYC, as recounted on the liveBooks REVOLVE blog here. Thayers' result - heard more than once " I was able to discuss the publications’ visions and to show where mine could complement it. They both enjoyed my work and, the greatest compliment, said that some of my images “are such (insert magazine title here) shots.”

Did Thayer have those successful encounters by "trying out" his clients, to see if there's a fit? Did he waste the time of the photo editors/art buyers/etc fumbling to see if there was a good fit? Not at all. He was thoughtful in his approach. He didn't try to sell himself above or below his abilities or style. He researched where his style could compliment and benefit the magazines and clients. When was the last time you approached dating thinking "hey, they'll really benefit in so many ways by dating me!" (That is the fastest way to getting the cold shoulder from the apple of your eye.)

Equating marketing to dating just doesn't pass the smell test, unless you want to be errant and irresponsible about both, and lather up in some eau de photographer in the process.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chase Jarvis Rocks It With His Best Camera Application

As someone who, in fact, carries his iPhone everywhere, Chase is right, with his now trademarked phrase "The Best Camera is the one with you" (yes, he did trademark it!). Chase is also right that all the apps out there are missing bits and pieces, and he brings it all together in the app, which you can learn more about at

I downloaded the app on my way to New York yesterday, and it is amazingly intuitive. I have multiple apps already, with my favorite one before this being Camera Bag, however, this one just does a great job all around, especially on the sharing front. At left is a nifty screen shot of the app in use with a photo of my speedometer as I was headed home from NYC on the NJ Turnpike, inside the Best Camera app.

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The app does a REALLY great job of lighting up shadows in images, and the warm/cool and candy settings are great, but watch out for an over-use of the candy setting. One application of that filter on my red rental car that replaced my Jeep that broke down in the middle of the NJ Turnpike when we were northbound to NYC had commenters criticizing the saturated reds. (As for me, I liked it - it represented my anger at the situation I had found myself in, and the clown-car size of the sub-compact I was stuck renting to get to NYC in time!) Also, playing with the app distracted me from my frustrations - my creativity with other photos actually had a bit of a calming side effect!

What don't I like? Not much. All around, it is the best application out there. One thing I wrote to Chase about was that every photo lists the photo as "Photo from Chase Jarvis' Best Camera", and he indicated that that will change in a few days with a "0.1" release, as it was coded that way by accident. Even when you input a caption in the app, it does not make it to facebook, however, you can easily edit the caption on facebook after the fact. The only other thing is that the crop tool just crops square arbitrarily. I would love to be able to select my crop and dimensions, and I suspect that will come as an enhancement very soon. the entire interface is so intuitive, with easy to understand visual cues as to what each filter does, and the fact that you can stack them.

Run, don't walk to get this app, and begin sharing your photos on Facebook and Twitter much easier than ever before. Don't have an iPhone? Too bad! Who knows if he's going to do a version for other phones, so go get an iPhone so you can use this app. Chase also has a pretty cool social networking site where you can see what other people are shooting and sharing, as well as the most popular amongst those. In addition, he has this book (at right) that is worth checking out as well!

Lastly, it wouldn't be "total Chase" without a cool video to accompany this, so check the latest from Mr. Jarvis out below. As I note, in my 1am photograph taken at the Burger King along the turnpike, using a newspaper front page, he really could deserve, in some creative realm, the title "King Chase"!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Photography As Art: Sotheby's Auction Listings

In a sign that photography is being accepted by the art world as, well, art, Sotheby's is holding an auction of an amazing collection of photographs, with details and an online catalog available for browsing here.

Below are the details, and it's an interesting browse, as well as what the valuations are estimated to be. Click on the individual photograph to see the dollar figures.

Sotheby's NYC
Fri, 9 Oct 09, 10:00AM (Lots 1-102) & 2:00PM (Lots 103-243)

Sotheby's October 2009 sale of Photographs features an exciting selection of masterworks by some of the most important and innovative of 20th-Century photographers. Paul Outerbridge's Nude with Sculpture Head combines the photographer's technical rigor with his distinctive, frequently Surreal, aesthetic. Man Ray's Lee Miller and Friend links the Surreal with the sensual. In Eleanor, Harry Callahan creates a multi-layered double-exposure study of his wife and muse. Work by László Moholy-Nagy, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Pierre Dubreuil illustrates the range and diversity of the Modernist impulse in photography. Contemporary work includes images by Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Peter Beard, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helmut Newton. Also on offer is the complete set of fine books and portfolios published by 21st Editions, each illustrated with original photographs and photogravures by a variety of contemporary photographers.

Nineteenth-century offerings include a daguerreotype of Maungwudaus, a chief of the Ojibwa tribe, who performed Native American dances in Europe and the United States in the 1840s. Masterful landscapes by Carleton Watkins and Henry P. Bosse, as well as a rare and early Lincoln portrait, are featured as well.
Remember, folks, you can't sell your work as art if you gave away the copyright, but the people you sold it to can.
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TOMMORROW - NYC Presentation: The Art of the Deal

Interested in knowing more about how to negotiate with your clients? How to more clearly license your work? TOMORROW, 9/22, in the evening, I am presenting The Art of the Deal at Adorama, Sponsored by Nikon.

Here are the details:

The Adorama Building
42 West 18th Street - Between 5th and 6th Avenues
5th floor
New York, N.Y. 10011
Event Description:
Join John Harrington, author of the best-selling ‘Best Business Practices for Photographers’, for an insightful and solutions-oriented presentation on how to generate more revenue from the assignments, through pricing examples and discussion, negotiation strategies, and demystifying licensing of your work.

Unlock the mysteries surrounding how to price your work, and learn ways to negotiate from a position of strength. When it comes to licensing, how do you write a license that gives the client the permissions they paid for, without leaving loopholes you could drive a truck through?

Through a series of actual negotiated assignments, we will break down the negotiation and explain how to plan for the questions you'll get, and to know the best ways to answer them. When it comes to pricing, there seems to be a world of secrecy around rates. We will discuss solutions for stock and assignment pricing, as well as discuss tools for you to establish your own. When it comes to licensing, we'll discuss and explain the standardized licensing solution that is the Picture Universal Licensing System (or PLUS), and how to write a license, where to put the licensing language, and what the best format will be.Throughout the program, all of these elements will be integrated into each assignment discussed.
To attend or learn more, click here.

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