Monday, May 19, 2008

Orphan Works Legislation Must Be Rejected and Rewritten

Orphan Works legislation is making its way through Congress at the moment. It's time to take action and defend the photo industry. Our careers are stake here for decades to come. Contact your congressmen and let them know what you think about this nefarious legislation. You can find their contact info here

Read prior posts for more info on this legislation. You can use the following letter as template to write to your congressmen or women:

Dear Senator ____________ _________ _:

I am one of your constituents, and a professional photographer. It is
crucial to my professional livelihood that you oppose this bill in
its current form. If this bill's current language becomes law, it
would permit, and even encourage, wide-scale infringements of my
copyrighted photographs while depriving me of many of the protections
currently available to me under the Copyright Act, including the
right to ask the courts to award statutory damages and attorneys'
fees. In the publication world, the reality is that most photographs
will easily become considered orphaned, depriving me of a significant
part of my much needed income.

I urge you to oppose this bill unless and until it is amended to
contain at least the minimum provisions that are critical to protect
photographers, including but not limited to a notice of use that must
be filed before the use is made, upon penalty of losing eligibility
to claim orphan work status for failure to file the notice; an
archive of the notices, to be maintained by the Copyright Office or
an approved third party; and other protections that appear in the
current (May 15, 2008) language of H.R. 5889.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can provide you
with any additional information. Thank you for your time. I hope that
you will take the necessary actions to protect my interests and
prevent the passage of this bill until it is amended to be fair and
reasonable to all parties.

Respectfully yours,
(your name)

Read more!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Take Action Against Orphan Works Legislation

The Orphan Works Legislation is in front of Congress at the moment. If this bill passes, it will be extremely detrimental to the livelihood of photographers.The Orphan Works bill is reaching a critical stage. Depending on the outcome of the vote on the House of Representatives floor tomorrow we will need the help of each and everyone of you. This bill does not have the best interests of creative artists in mind and will adversely effect all of us. In the coming days APA will call upon the photographic community to write their elected leaders to express their opposition to this legislation. Please be ready at that time to stand together as one and let our voice be heard. Our future as creative artists depends on it.

For more information on the "Orphan Works Act of 2008" and the APA's Position please visit

To volunteer your time and effort please contact Rebecca D. Shulman at

You can read an extensive post detailing the ins and outs of the bill, written by John Harrington. Also read this post detailing positions of other organizations concerned.

These bills will affect your lives for decades to come. Call or email your congressmen. We're all in this together. Don't let apathy take you out, this is too important. John Harrington has a list of congressmen on his post with their email addresses. Tell them what's on your mind.
Take action this one time !

Read more!

Friday, May 2, 2008

30 Years And Counting

Corazon's 30 year anniversary celebration is coming up this Sunday May 4th from 2-5 pm in Anaheim, California. Read on for the press release.

Thirty years ago, three Orange County residents felt a need to help the poor in several villages surrounding Tijuana. They provided food, clothing, basic supplies and spiritual help. In 1978 they officially formed Corazón ( as a nonprofit organization. During the early years Corazón helped by meeting the immediate needs with food, clothing and shelter. Volunteers repaired some of the “homes” (actually shacks of pallets and cardboard) of the residents. This “repairing” quickly turned to building complete houses.

Over the next five years Corazón developed a turnkey construction system for a 12’ x 20’ house with a wood floor and foundation. Using this system, a volunteer sponsor group on a one-day contribution event could build a complete home for a family. From 1983 to 1996, Corazón grew from building 8 houses a year to building 8 houses in a day. In 1995, the familia Corazón program was conceived and developed as an overall approach to help families escape poverty while building a stronger community.

Today, Corazón has built over 800 new homes and repaired hundreds more. This non-profit organization has profoundly affected the lives of over 1,000 families, provided annual scholarships to thousands of students in primary, middle, and high schools, as well as college. The familia program works as these college graduates are returning to their villages to teach, and help, giving back for what they have received.

On Sunday May 4th, Corazon will be celebrating its 30 year anniversary at the Hotel Menage 2-5pm, 1221 South Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805 There will be a fundraiser and silent auction, as well as a photography exhibition of work by young adolescents living in Corazon communities in Tijuana, Mexico.

Local professional photographer, Greg Clarke (, recently went down to Tijuana, Mexico to give a photography workshop to these youngsters to impart some basic skills, as well as share some of his experiences traveling around the world, but most importantly to inspire them to capture their world and express themselves. They were given disposable cameras to do this. The results are outstanding to say the least. Greg Clarke commented: “I had no idea what to expect. These kids had never taken photos before. I encouraged them to share a bit of themselves, to go beyond using the camera as a souvenir catcher, and to tap into their creativity. When I saw what they came up with, I was so impressed by their sensibility. I have to say I am very touched to have been part of this experience.”

This Corazon event is a celebration of community, of undying commitment to the less fortunate. Come be a part of the heart of Corazon, people like you and me who pitch in any way they can. It promises to be an incredible event with great art and a host of fabulous auction items.

Sunday May 4th from 2-5pm

Hotel Menage

1221 South Harbor Blvd.

Anaheim, CA 92805

Read more!

Young Photographers

Well here's a quick post before I hit the sack. I've been reviewing and editing the photos taken by the kids in Tijuana. I gave them a photography class a couple of weeks ago. Then we gave them disposable cameras to take home.

Today I received their photos. I was really impressed! All I did to them is adjust the contrast and tone. Here are a couple of them.
Can't wait to see them all framed.

They have an ethereal quality I find. Keep in mind that this is the first time these kids use a camera. Very promising !

Read more!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Great Board Meeting !!

Yesterday, I presented the mentoring project idea to the local ASMP board here in Los Angeles.

It was accepted !! It feels good. The national board of ASMP had rejected the idea a month ago, on grounds that they wanted it to start small.

So here goes. Everyone of the board members was fully accepting and enthusiastic about it. The next step is to write the copy for the website, get it all set up, then enlist some mentors.

For those not aware of the mentoring project, we are going to basically copy what NPPA has done. On their website, they have a list of mentors available. Any member can log in, read the mentor bios, and pick one they want to work with. Contact info is right there on the mentoring webpage. Then it's up the individuals involved to sort out how they want to set up the relationship. Easy as pie.

I'll keep everyone up to date on the progress. It's exciting because this could have an impact on a lot of emerging photographers who are struggling to make it in this competitive and challenging industry.

By the way, the board meeting was a lot of fun. Not at all what I expected. We ate in a fancy french restaurant, free food yeahh ! We joked around a lot and just had a great time.

Read more!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Photography Organizations: Why Join One?

At the moment, I am member of APA (Advertising Photographers of America), as well as ASMP, (American Society of Media Photographers). Why did I join them? There are a number of good reasons. Both of these organizations put on seminars and presentations that are highly educational, and inspiring to professional photographers. They range in topics from 'how to market yourself,' to slide show presentations of well known photographers, to 'search engine optimization' (the topic at Blake Disher's talk last week).

Another great advantage is the camaraderie of other professionals. Who better than other professional photographers can understand us, joke about the industry, give us advice... ? Who else will want to listen and share your excitement about that 70-200mm VR f2.8 lens you just acquired?

Joining ASMP and APA also allows you to get photography business insurance at a reduced rate. Discounts are available as well with vendors such as Adobe, Apple, PDN, and others.

There are online forums as well that are worth checking out and participating in. On there, you'll find the top pros in the industry sharing their knowledge and experience. You can post any relevant question and get an assortment of answers from its members. Some of the better ones are Yahoo groups. Their names are APAnet, APAdigital, ASMPproAdvice, ASMPArch.

Something else I am working on with ASMP is creating a mentoring group. The idea is emerging photographers who are members of ASMP, could look up a list of available mentors, contact them and set up some kind of mentoring relationship according to their photography/business needs and schedules. That is still in the works. I'll keep you updated of the progress.

There are many more perks to joining these and other photography organizations, but I will let you discover them on your own. These are a few of the important ones in my mind.

Read more!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Negotiating Fees

I was talking to a photographer friend about fees. Actually we talk a lot about it because I like his approach and I want to learn more. He manages to earn a lot of money. He's been in business 10 years now, so he does have an established clientele. Yet he still uses this approach with new clients.

When he gets a call about a job, he tries to find out the budget. Oftentimes, he won't be given the info, so he'll charge what he thinks is fair. Now what I think is fair is different. He charges way more than me. What happens is he gets less clients than he could, but the ones he shoots for, he earns a lot. So he's working less, and earning more.

My friend has this mentality of 'why limit yourself in your thinking? Just because everyone else is charging this amount doesn't mean you can't charge more!' I love it, it's the opposite of low-balling. You have to have balls to charge that kind of money, but he gets what he wants some of the time. One of the reasons is he can handle objections when they come up. He knows what to say to clients in response to their doubts or concerns. He's good at selling himself. That takes studying, thinking and practice.

It's also how you are with the client. He doesn't come off as needing the business. It's like when a guy approaches a girl in a bar and seems needy and insecure. The girl is turned off and rejects him. Yet when a guy is confident and doesn't care if the girl likes him or not, the girl becomes attracted. Same concept. If the client turns him down, he's not worried about it. It's more like a game to him.

Photographers starting out have a tendency to charge too little. The problem is sometimes, we're not aware of market prices, or we're not confident in our skills, or we're desperate for money or the opportunity. When we charge too little, we end up hurting the market and it becomes harder for everyone, not just us, to make a living.

It's our responsibility to learn from other photographers. The other day, I got a call about doing food shots (which I have hardly any experience in) for a restaurant. I told them, "sure I can do it," as I was trained to do. I can always bring an assistant experienced in that type of photography to the shoot. However I had no idea how much to charge, so I called up a photographer who did, and asked him. That easy. Photographers will share that kind of info because it's in their best interest to do so, for the reasons listed above.

Why stop at that though? Why not charge enough to live well, rather than to just get by? That's what I'm pondering. Believe me, I'm not charging as much as my friend, but I will be. I want that kind of lifestyle, where you can work hard, for less hours per week, and still have time to play and relax.

Read more!