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Thread: Highly upset!!

  1. #1
    wannabe
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    Highly upset!!

    Well, I kinda expected it, but I'm still very pissed off. With my towns HS winning the state championship, and me being the only guy to take pics just for the heck of it, and posting them on the web, my site gets a lot of traffic. I have zero problem with the school using any of my images for the yearbook, school paper, functions (Banquets etc) or kids printing them for personal use. Mainly because I do not feel they are good enough to sell to anyone but a newspaper right now.

    Until...
    Coming out of a Basketball game, my oldest son points out a plaque a guy is carrying. Its shaped like a football, with "State Champs" painted on it, laquered all nice over a pic of the scoreboard. I asked the guy where he got it. He said the Booster Club was selling them. Well, the pic is of the scoreboard with 21 sec left in the 4th quarter, right after the final score. I am the only person to get that picture. Those jokers are using my picture to make money!!!!

    All this after I offered to sell the school photoCD's they could resell and make money to buy the teams rings.

    What can I do about preventing this, without punishing the kids who look forward to seeing thier pics on the website? What can I do to the crooks in the booster club?


    Man, I am so steamed......
    My name is Scott, and I take pictures.

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  2. #2
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    The only problem I see, is someone not knowing the business end of photography putting themselves in a bad position, not making usage rights clear, and wondering that they got screwed.

    Sorry, but when you give your images away for free without any sort of contract or clear, written agreement, you are setting yourself up for a huge disappointment.

    What do you do now?

    For one, pull all your images. The ones that are out there, well it's too late for them. From now on, post only low-res, watermarked previews. If someone wants to use them, ask them for what, and write out a contract stipulating usage in very exact terms. There are excellent books out there that describe what you need to know, as well as software. One book I use is this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158...books&v=glance

    And second, start charging. You are screwing over people that could be making money by giving yours away fro free. If you want to play photographer, then act like one, a person that has to sell images to make a living.

    Contrary to popular belief, digital images are not free. They are a product of people that have spent many years and a lot of money on buying gear and getting an education. Giving them away for people to use as they wish is very, very bad for the industry. Some day you might get really, really good, and you may decide to want to go full-time, only to find that no one wants to pay you because some n00b is giving their images away fro free.
    -Seb

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  3. #3
    wannabe
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Sorry. I had no idea you were going hungry because of me.
    My name is Scott, and I take pictures.

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  4. #4
    wannabe
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    By the way, the ones that are posted are lo-res. They are not watermarked though.
    My name is Scott, and I take pictures.

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  5. #5
    Not-so-recent Nikon Convert livin4lax09's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    i would watermark all of them. but that won't keep people from stealing them. Some people just don't want to pay. They'll take an image even if it is watermarked. ANy possibility whatsoever that it was another person's image?

  6. #6
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Scott,

    We all learn some hard lessons in this business. I walked into a business once and found a copy of a photo I took in 8x10 size. Problem was I never any 8x10's of that photo. I told the guy he had two choices, pay me $15 or I'd remove it. He paid, and told me where he got it copied at. I went straight to the place that copied it and filed a complaint, I also notified the home office and followed it up with letters from my attorney to all the stores in a 5 county area that had similar equipment. This was a CVS Pharmacy, WalMart also got a letter at it's 10 area locations. A month later I filed a complaint with one of the Wal Marts, the manager was replaced ASAP and I have not had a problem since.

    Giving photos away, or illegally copying them hurts every pro photographer, or semi pro, or anyone who legally sells photos.

    On another note:
    You may want to make sure you have the right to sell photos from a state finals game. Most states athletic associations control the rights to state finals games. The schools booster club could get sued for selling the photos as well!
    If you remember I had mentioned this in a thread during the football season.

    JS

  7. #7
    wannabe
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    JS
    Your mention of rights is exactly why I did not sell any of them. I do not want to cause anyone grief, I even tried to work out a deal to sell a season long Photo CD of the shots I have on the net for a fee that everyone could afford, and I could make some money to invest in the photography stuff I want (A good printer, lenses and a flash, so i can sell prints that are worth buying) but the school (Principal and AD)gave me the cold shoulder.

    I have come in contact with some guys in the media since the football season, who have said my shots are good. I may even start freelancing for a paper (For money this time). I want the kids I shoot to be able to get thier pictures, thats why I figured a Photo CD would be a good idea.

    I dunno. I cannot print them right now, so I really do not know what to do.


    Livin

    Its my pic, unless someone was sitting on my shoulder. Every other image i saw of the score board shows 00:00.
    My name is Scott, and I take pictures.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Scott,
    Apparently the booster club doesn't realize this. You should talk to them, tell them you can't sell the photos, and they cannot use them to make a profit either - but first check with the association on it, then talk to them.

    Take a CD of your photos to a few papers and see if they will use you for freelance. You won't make a living but you can do OK. Some days now I will shoot for 3-5 papers at the same event.

    Hey liven,
    Want a good laugh? check out my photos here (top 4) of Tony Stewart, they adjusted the color...wrong, sure don't look Orange to me! They were when I sent them in

    http://www.therepublic.com/main.asp?...451&TM=75944.3

    And they can't get the info right either....it's Indiana Ice, not Indianapolis and the fans are Tony Stewart fans, not Ice fans....

    JS

  9. #9
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hesaias
    Sorry. I had no idea you were going hungry because of me.
    Scott-
    If and when you do start making money and getting really serious about photography as a business, you'll start to be concerned about people giving away photos for free. Every time someone gives away a photo for free, someone else loses the potential to make a sale. It may seem mercenary to you. But that's just economics. I shoot mostly mountain bikes and it's hard to make much money because so many photographers are willing to give away images. It devalues all mountain bike photos when manufacturers don't have to pay for photos.
    Photo-John

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  10. #10
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Hi Photo John,

    Maybe we do need that topic you mentioned not long ago.....the business side of things.

    JS

  11. #11
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Hi Scott, As a musician, and now a photographer, I have worried about this alot and have done a "little" research. As for your pictures, they are, if I understand correctly, automamatically copyrighted, whether they are marked or not. Therefore, you do have "some" rights and controls over your work. The selling of your works for profit without your written permission is a violation of your copyright. Your recourse, basically, is that they must cease selling the copyrighted material. I'm not sure of the legal steps, but once notified to stop selling your stuff, they must stop or you are entitled to compensation. You may have to go to court to get an order to stop them. In music, usually, you will not be compensated for past profits made by the offenders, but any future profits, would be yours completely.
    Now, I understand that you don't want to really cause these people any grief, but, you need to be assertive with your works and get the compensation you deserve. Remember, you are the one that has been wronged, and you want and need things to improve your business. If people are always getting away with stealing from you, they will never pay you and you are the only one who will be hurt in the process.
    There are diplomatic ways to work with the boosters and still get your just desserts. Go talk with the head of the Boosters and discuss the "copyright infringment" laws, and work out a "future" deal with them to provide photos for a fair compensation. This could be a good way to get your business started if you approach them correctly!!!!
    In closing, research the copyright laws very well. They are your friend and not that hard to understand.
    Ken
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  12. #12
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    I realize this is a difficult topic for a lot of people, and I think everyone needs to go a little bit easier on Scott. Two months ago, I would have made the same mistake, and it seems to be a common mistake amongst new/rookie photographers.

    Like alot of things, charging for photos comes down to common sense. Most of the time, yes, I would charge. But there are cases where I have given a friend a single picture, either because they were in it or they wanted to give it as a gift. Yes, it is important to be a mercenary, but you have to know when to be a mercenary and when not to be.

    Its funny that you guys bring up getting paid for your work. I wish that was the case for me. I get paid for the prints, but that is about it. Every game I shoot for my school, every team picture or headshot, etc, is an opportunity that I had to pay for. I get college credit out of it, but that comes at about $200-$300 dollars per credit hour. Not that I have much of a choice in that matter - I spent upwards of $20K a year to get a degree, and I would rather have an internship I enjoy.

    I'm trying to work something up for the Spring Semester so I can get paid for everything I do. If they won't set up a time to talk about it when I bring it up next, I suppose I won't be available for them when the Spring comes around.
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  13. #13
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    If you don't put any value on your work, they won't either.


    One thing that everyone needs to realize, is if you are going to have a leg to stand on, you NEED to have something in writing. I've been there, it's not fun, but consider it a lesson learned, and do better next time.

    Yes, you're upset, that's understandable. But now you know what to do differently next time.

    Been there, done that. I can guarantee that I won't be in that situation again. Lesson learned.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  14. #14
    Senior Member srobb's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hesaias
    JS
    Your mention of rights is exactly why I did not sell any of them. I do not want to cause anyone grief, I even tried to work out a deal to sell a season long Photo CD of the shots I have on the net for a fee that everyone could afford, and I could make some money to invest in the photography stuff I want (A good printer, lenses and a flash, so i can sell prints that are worth buying) but the school (Principal and AD)gave me the cold shoulder.

    I have come in contact with some guys in the media since the football season, who have said my shots are good. I may even start freelancing for a paper (For money this time). I want the kids I shoot to be able to get thier pictures, thats why I figured a Photo CD would be a good idea.

    I dunno. I cannot print them right now, so I really do not know what to do.


    Livin

    Its my pic, unless someone was sitting on my shoulder. Every other image i saw of the score board shows 00:00.
    You really need to talk with OT, OldTimer. He could help you a lot on this. He does the same thing as you shooting his local hs's football games. He has a site which he puts the pics on, low-res and watermarked and the parents are able to go to the site and decide on which images they want. Sounds like somethig that would work for you.

    I may not have sold much, but giving away is one thing I don't do. I will be doing my nephew's wedding in March, but it will be for a reduced price of what it would have cost him by getting someone else.

  15. #15
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ken1953
    As for your pictures, they are, if I understand correctly, automamatically copyrighted... I'm not sure of the legal steps, but once notified to stop selling your stuff, they must stop or you are entitled to compensation. You may have to go to court to get an order to stop them.
    That is somewhat correct, but there is much more to it than that.

    For one, you can do exactly nothing legally without registering your work with the US Copyright Office. You can send them a CD/DVD with thumbnails of several months work and pay the $30 fee, or you can do it more or less than that. Starting this year, I will be doing it monthly, and I'm just figuring the costs into the cost of doing business.

    Without it being registered you have no right to collect attorney fees, only potential damages.

    Where do the attorney fees fit in? Taking a copyright case to court starts at a little over $100,000.00 in court costs. So let's say someone uses your image in a way that is worth $10,000 in licensing fees. You get that plus extra because the defendant acted inappropriately, so let's say you end up with $25,000. You still owe the lawyer $75,000. Lawyers are in this to make money, and if they know the defendant doesn't have to pay their fees, they will either refuse to take your case, or make YOU pay the fees up front. Either way, a starving local photog is not taking their case to court.

    And, the cases are notoriously difficult to win. So unless you have a VERY tight case and LOTS of damages, and the images are registered, it's pretty much impossible to find a lawyer that will take on your case.

    Quote Originally Posted by hesaias
    Sorry. I had no idea you were going hungry because of me.
    I'm not, because I have a good day job, but I can speak from experience.

    Earlier this year I had the opportunity to photograph someone pretty famous. I walked away with some unique images, and I was contacted by the person's organization about licensing them. They wanted unlimited web, print and promotional use. I spent about three weeks doing my research, and figured out the price range their use would fall into. Total for three images was about $7000 per year in fees.

    Their counter offer? $200 for my ENTIRE SHOOT. Why? "But, we get them for free from other photographers." THEIR words, not mine. I was pissed because the price was lower than the low average value. I lowered it a bit (about 15%) because I wanted the sale.

    Now how do you think someone that makes their entire living would feel if this happened to them? For me it was 7 grand that I really didn't need. For someone else it could have been several months worth of a mortgage, or being able to take their family on vacation.

    To you, it's just a hobby, and you like the attention you get from giving out photos. That's nice and all, but keep in mind that this is a profession, and there are people out there that depend on being able to sell the images. Any time you make them freely, and publicly, available you are doing much more bad than good.
    -Seb

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  16. #16
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    To clear up some things...

    Sorry to hear how stressful this situation has been for you. The feeling of getting "stabbed in the back", when you work hard to help out a group of people definitely sucks...

    You've been getting quite a mixture of comments, some informed, some not. I'm no legal expert by any means (as others have said, there are books and lawyers for that), but if I may add my two pesos...

    One, you do not give up your legal publishing rights to a photo simply by giving away free copies of it. In lieu of any written or verbal agreement, as the creator of the shot your rights are implied and protected.

    So, that means one of three things: either 1) the Booster Club believes you granted them verbal permission to print and sell copies of the photo, 2) they knew they needed permission, didn't get it, and decided to just go ahead and do it anyway, or 3) this whole thing was an honest mistake and misunderstanding.

    Regardless, you need to talk with them. Depending on how they respond, you have some decisions to make.

    If they realize their ignorance and admit their mistake in wrongfully selling your shot for profit, they'll probably stop using the pic. They may also decide to compensate you. Or they may work out a new agreement with you to keep using the pic.

    Now, if your relationship with the school, the team, and the Booster Club is important enough to you, you need to decide if any of the above are sufficient to put this whole thing behind you and move forward. Hopefully, in the future, you'll be more clear on an agreement and what rights are given for your images.

    If you're not satisfied with their actions, you probably have the right to pursue the matter legally. Then it will likely be your word against theirs, plus the little matter of whether you needed a location permit to even shoot at these games (yep, something else to think about). And even if you win you will most likely severe your ties and working relationship with the school and the team.

    Now, on the subject of giving photography away for free, I am going to go completely against the grain here. I have absolutely no problem with shooters doing this under the right circumstances.

    In the fashion business in South Florida, there are many many shooters that will do portfolio shots for a model for free. They are almost all beginners, and that is simply the way it is.

    This has always been the way you get your foot in the door and build up a portfolio. Heck, I've got at least half a dozen trade-out shoots in the works right now (where everyone will get free prints) simply because I have new equipment, new ideas, and need new images in my book. This is in no way unethical...

    I would even go so far as to say that if your intentions are to remain an amateur shooter and keep photography as a hobby, you have the right to ALWAYS give your work away if you can afford.

    Think about it. Many musicians give away CDs of their work for free to promote themselves in live venues and such. Does this undermine the entire commercial music business? Hardly. Deserving acts will still be paid top dollar...

    Do not listen to crybaby pros. In a free market, you get your fees because your work and your name are in demand, not simply because you ask for a certain amount of money or don't, or others are charging more or less (or nothing).

    Trust me though, if you ARE trying to break into commercial photography, and continue to give your work away (or continually lowball other shooters), you'll only go so far and that will be it.

    Yes, at SOME POINT you have to put a fair market value on your work, but no one else can tell you what that timeline should be.

    It is also not unusual to be a working pro charging fair market fees and rates, and yet still have pet projects that you do very cheaply or even for free. There have been many groups and organizations that I've done free work for, and it in no way affects my other commercial clients or other shooters in the market...
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  17. #17
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: To clear up some things...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    Yes, at SOME POINT you have to put a fair market value on your work, but no one else can tell you what that timeline has should be.
    What you don't realize, is that by then the market has been devalued to nothing.

    We're not talking fashion here, we're talking about community sports, and to a lesser extent, editorial/journalistic markets. All the stuff that suburban bored people find glamorous and want to shoot.

    The proliferation of low-cost, high-quality digital cameras has littered the market with mediocre shooters that will give away work with the only compensation being credit because they think the digital pictures are "free." And by giving away I mean giving away the FILES, which is very different from giving away PRINTS. I give away prints all the time as samples of work and of the print quality of my lab. But on the back is a stamp with my copyright info, and it's more than likely an image that has no value to the person receiving the sample.

    But even in your case, giving prints in exchange for a model's time, you're receiving compensation in the form of the model's time, the make-up artist's time, and the hair dresser's time. You may not have gotten money, but you got something that's worth something. That is worlds apart from showing up somewhere, shooting it, and giving the images away to people to do with as they please. You make agreements with the people you trade with, there is a clear understanding that everyone's work has VALUE. And therefore, it is nothing like what the original poster described.

    I see your example more as a temporary partnership, whereas I see the poster's actions equivalent to printing and distributing $10 bills.
    -Seb

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  18. #18
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: To clear up some things...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    Do not listen to crybaby pros. In a free market, you get your fees because your work and your name are in demand, not simply because you ask for a certain amount of money or don't, or others are charging more or less (or nothing).
    I would hardly consider pros concerned about their well-being to by "crybabies."

    You have to understand, this is not likely to happen with a fashion shooter. The work is high-caliber because it needs to match the quality and image of the magazine industry, and the market is very different than it is with freelancers or event shooters. There are not that many fashion shooters (none in my area), but I am always surrounded by at least two or three parents on the sidelines of games shooting "for fun." They ask me who I'm with and I tell them, and usually that's followed by "Oh, I sent them images a few times, it's nice being published..."

    The ones that are complaining are the ones that are in those areas of the business that are popular, namely sports and editorial. Publications are having a hard time financially, and that means taking a lesser free photo from a doctor with a 1Ds over a great photo from a guy that makes a mid-level income freelancing with his DSLR that he has yet to pay off.

    I think you are in a part of the industry that is smaller and more secluded than what we're talking about here. Fashion is very different, both business and size-wise than sports and editorial. It's a hell of a lot harder to break into than going to a high school game with a 10D and a 70-200 and taking away several hundred dollars of income from the event guy working the game, or the already paltry rates that freelancers receive.
    -Seb

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  19. #19
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Ok, maybe a bad example...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    That is worlds apart from showing up somewhere, shooting it, and giving the images away to people to do with as they please...
    Let me give you a better one: the South Beach club scene. My guess is there are many parallels to this situation...

    The SoBe night scene is a series of events, the shots are primarily grab shots (where the moment is more important than anything artistically). Many many folks have cameras and take pictures at these places, and more often than not give them away to everyone free, and beautiful women often take their tops off and dance suggestively on the bar and tabletops until the wee hours of the morning.

    Ok, that last part I made up... ;)

    The point is, even though the publications I worked for could have gotten as many pics as they wanted free, I was paid quite well to provide them with the images. It was for reasons other than what I charged or what else was available.

    The bottom line is, as a commercial shooter, you have to continually evaluate the various markets you're trying to work, and understand that they all evolve and change, many times for the worse.

    If a given market has become flooded with cheap or free alternatives to what you provide (which IS exactly the way the fashion market is, and thus relevant), you simply have to rethink whether that market is worth pursuing.

    BTW, Seb, I DO sense your frustration. I'm just saying I don't think there's much you can do about it...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  20. #20
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: To clear up some things...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    The (fashion ) work is high-caliber because it needs to match the quality and image of the magazine industry...
    Dude, you're not even close. Fashion in Miami is much more similar to your "event" shooting than it is different. I guess at least 90% of the work down there is done by any hack with a camera.

    That crap is continually passed on and sold (or given away) to unsuspecting models and parents because they don't know any better. I can't speak for digital, but when I was down there, the vast majority of lowball film shooters gave their clients ALL original material, so you can guess how much value they put on it. I would think now with digital, the situation has only gotten worse...

    As I said, this flood of cheap work (both cost and quality) always exists, and an aspiring shooter simply has to rise above it.

    BTW, I didn't mean to imply that anyone on THIS site was crybaby. I meant those OTHER photo sites... ;)
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  21. #21
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Ok, maybe a bad example...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    If a given market has become flooded with cheap or free alternatives to what you provide (which IS exactly the way the fashion market is, and thus relevant), you simply have to rethink whether that market is worth pursuing.

    BTW, Seb, I DO sense your frustration. I'm just saying I don't think there's much you can do about it...
    I agree completely about pursuing other markets. But I think that there is something that can be done about the damage being done. Educating people about the worth of the images and the potential damage of free distribution on the local market, and maybe even the industry as a whole, can make people think twice about it. There will always be those that don't care, but there are also many people that do.

    And the only reason I get frustrated is not because it hurts my pocket book, but because I still have this pipe dream of some day being able to write "Photographer" under profession on a form, and I just don't see being able to make a living at it in a few decades. Not the way the market is going right now. And the fact is, the market I am most interested in (editorial/journalistic) is one of the ones that's being diluted. I am pursuing other avenues, but it makes me sad to see such a decline. I don't mind shooting weddings, but it's far from my first choice...
    -Seb

    My website

    (Please don't edit and repost my images without my permission. Thank you)

    How to tell the most experienced shooter in a group? They have the least amount of toys on them.

  22. #22
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: To clear up some things...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    Dude, you're not even close. Fashion in Miami is much more similar to your "event" shooting than it is different. I guess at least 90% of the work down there is done by any hack with a camera.
    See, when I think of "fashion" I think of the sort of stuff I helped you with when I was down there. I assume now that when you say "fashion" you're talking those guys that hug the runways of awards shows? That I can see.
    -Seb

    My website

    (Please don't edit and repost my images without my permission. Thank you)

    How to tell the most experienced shooter in a group? They have the least amount of toys on them.

  23. #23
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: To clear up some things...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    I assume now that when you say "fashion" you're talking those guys that hug the runways of awards shows? That I can see.
    Well, I can't speak for any runways or red carpets. My experience has been the wolves loitering on Ocean Drive by the modeling agencies...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
    www.stevenpaulhlavac.com
    www.photoasylum.com

  24. #24
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    In terms of educating others (amateur photographers giving away their work for free), what is the cost to THEM, the ones giving away their work? Sure, we all see how much it costs people like Seb. But why should they give a rats ass about Seb? All they want is the credibility or "coolness" that comes with getting published, they don't aspire to make money off it. How does this hurt THEM?

    Seriously, if there were a good answer to that question then some of them might convert to the holyism.

    I like making up words.

  25. #25
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Highly upset!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor Ash
    In terms of educating others (amateur photographers giving away their work for free), what is the cost to THEM, the ones giving away their work? Sure, we all see how much it costs people like Seb. But why should they give a rats ass about Seb? All they want is the credibility or "coolness" that comes with getting published, they don't aspire to make money off it. How does this hurt THEM?

    Seriously, if there were a good answer to that question then some of them might convert to the holyism.

    I like making up words.
    Like I said, some people don't care, but some do. It's the latter that sometimes don't realize it that their hobby is costing someone else money.

    But even the ones that don't care incur costs. The cost of the equipment, the time spent editing images, as well as the time spent shooting the actual event. Sure, it's fun the first few games and the attention is great, but when all of a sudden you are the one everyone is calling for photos and you don't feel like it because the novelty wore off... What do you do then?
    -Seb

    My website

    (Please don't edit and repost my images without my permission. Thank you)

    How to tell the most experienced shooter in a group? They have the least amount of toys on them.

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