Category Archives: Business Aids

Repurposing Your Software Tools

Photoshop or your editor of choice actions can  help you cut time corners to make a better end product like blog entries. Say what?  Oh yes, you can adapt tools normally used for a task  like making albums into a killer tool for making story boards for blogs or displays or whatever else comes to mind. I just used my favorite album software from Fundy to make a batch of story boards for my blog here. Yes I could buy actions to do this but I wanted to see if I could do something close on my own with Photoshop.

I already have a couple of flavors of album making software, LumaPix, You Select It (YSI) and FundySOS Album builder. Since I’m on a Mac, I prefer to use Fundy Album builder. While LumaPix would do a really nice job, it’s Windows only and I need to start up XP just to make these. It’s more work then I want right now. Fundy means I never leave my workflow.  This is not intended to be a review of Fundy’s software but suffice to say it’s pretty powerful and is adaptable to virtually anything that requires arranging images, not just wedding albums.

Here is a sample of a three by three story board of a shoot in Colorado that I shot last year.  I tossed together in Fundy Album builder in a few minutes. Not only can I make the grid but I can save it as a design then load it back up and automatically fill the grids or fill them by hand. It can takes less than 5 minutes to make the entire grid and fill it this way. And I just have to insert ONE picture into the blog instead of a dozen or more.

3x3 Wedding Story Board

3x3 Wedding Story Board

And it does not have to be squares, it can be any shape I want, singles, squares, grids, puzzles and more. Also,  this is not just for blogs, this technique of story boarding or building paneled images  can be sold to a client or used in an album or picture book. So the time invested in making the templates can be time well spent. And yes, I had to buy the software but I had bought it  to make my wedding albums so now I’m using the same software for two or three other uses without having to buy anything else. That is money saved and in your pocket.

Here is a type of grid that is called a “puzzle” with several images from a local coffee house in the city of Orange  called Chapman Coffee. My business, Michael Sweeney Photography, had some art hung on the walls  there for a while and I had taken pictures for their website. Now I’m using them to illustrate a second type of collage that you can put into your blog by using album building software. I started with a blank canvas set to 1024 pixels square and used Fundy’s Album Builder Ninja layout and CS4 to make the puzzle. You can of course, make the squares manually using just Photoshop.

Chapman Coffee House Puzzle

Chapman Coffee House Puzzle

And you can take a single picture and use the panels as a design element. Use a strong picture and add a bit of space between the sections and you get a very cool effect. In this case, I made a quad panel and used a picture of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air automobile that I shot at the “Cars and Coffee” car show in Irvine, California. This image of the car works well spread across  the four panels with a visual break between each panel and gives an idea for a wall hanging upsell to the client.

1957 Chevy Quad Panel

1957 Chevy Quad Panel

If all this is cool but you either dont have existing tools like FundySOS  or you just dont want spend the time to mess around with Photoshop, then you can buy actions from a variety of places such as MCP who has the “Blog It Boards” among others. The actions give you a very fast way to get started on this type of presentation of your images.  You can find some free ones at coffeephotography.blogspot.com but keep in mind that free is good, sometimes paying for something is better.

So the take away is that for your blog, instead of fighting with posting a dozen images which can also be swiped, make a storyboard of them and post that. Everyone gets to see the pictures, admire your artistic skills in layout and you can shave time off the editing of your post.  You can also incorporate your album software or actions into your workflow as design elements.

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Also posted in Album Software, editing, editing software, photography, portraits, technique, training, wedding photography, workflow Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Free is always good

Just a quick post today with some free links from CreativeLive. If you have not heard of them, you need to. They have been putting on some amazing training sessions live on the internet with an option to buy it for a very cheap price. How cheap? How about three days of  Vincent Laforet and his class on shooting movies with HD DLSRs of  for 120  bucks? Oh yeahh..  champagne info and beer prices.

So here are are few more to check out – These are free for now!!!

Creating PDFs and eBooks with CS5

Photoshop CS5,  0 to 60

Watercolor 101

Right now I’m watching a three day treat with Zack Arias called

Studio Photography with Zack Arias

If you have not been to one of Zack’s training classes, you owe it to yourself to get this one given how cheap it is and the amount of information he presents.

And yes, these videos are iPad friendly. I download them to my iPad and play them during my “school time” which is really my lunch break 🙂

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Also posted in commercial photography, equipment, osx, photography, technique, training, video Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

iPad, Love it and hate it

iPad 64 GB Wi-Fi with the case.
Image via Wikipedia

So I have my very own iPad with Wifi , 3G and 64 gig of RAM. Yep, I went for the gold when I got it. And now that I’ve had for several days and traveled with it via Southwest airlines, I have a few thoughts on it.

For photographers and that is my viewpoint here, the iPad offers some tantalizing possibilities. Some of these possibilities apply to other folks as well and some of my observations are a more “corporate” viewpoint. The iPad is very well made with some excellent controls and one or two glaring omissions. The slide switch to lock the display is brilliant. The lack of a switch to shutoff the 3G is stupid. Why do I have to drill through several menus to turn of the battery sucking 3G?

The iPad displays pictures really well.. better than alot of other devices I’ve seen and that I can show off pictures even with the screen locked is an excellent idea. The built in photo support is OK.. nothing to really get excited about but there are other apps that really amp up showing off your images.

Speed is life

When the 3G is enabled, it is slow. The app store will barely function and that is within a 20 miles radius of my home off at different locations. Even the WiFi is slower than I expected. I run my Macpro daily off wifi and will get a full 10Mbps download/1Mbps upload. On the same wifi connection, the iPad barely ekks out 3Mbps download and about 900Kbps on the upload side.

Speed Test Results iPad

Speed Test Results - iPad

Casing the joint

Lets talk about cases shall we? I got the Apple case when I ordered up the iPad, I mean, how bad could it be? Turns out it can be pretty bad. The case is junk.  The only thing going for it is that it’s none slip but it literally hurts to hold it since the hot sealed edges are rigid stick out a 1/8 inch and then cut into your hand. You can charge the iPad but not dock it when it’s in the case and the case is a pain in the butt to get on and off so doing this daily is a non-starter. And did I mention the really flimsy “stand” on the back? the one they show int he picture that rocks back and forth with threats of leaving your pretty iPad laying face down on the tabletop? There are two settings, low and high and neither is useful. the low is a about 1″ off the table and the high rocks like it’s ready to fall down at the slightest breath. This was a wasted 20 bucks.

App here, App there

One app that really brings the iPad into the realm of being useful is from Wyse and is called “Pocket CLoud“. This is one of the nicest RDP clients I have used to push a windows desktop out to the iPad. A second really useful app is called “Print Central” and lets you print from the iPad via WiFI. 3G or other. It does require a free piece to be installed on the PC/Mac sharing printers called “WePrint“. You might wonder why I’m suggesting apps that do not look like “Photography” apps? Well, to run a business, it’s more than showing off pictures and listening to music. You have to do WORK and things like remote desk and printing allow you to WORK and be productive with the iPad. Another very useful app is Keynote for the iPad. You can make some amazing slide shows with Keynote and the price in the app store is pretty reasonable. Another slide app is “slide Show Builder Lite” and I found a cool tutorial on it at Granny Joans blog. I will add that it’s nice but you can not share the slide show unlike Keynote.

Alot of apps say they are “iPad” compatible and they are but they are not. What they mean is that they RUN on the iPad but not necessarily take advantage of the large screen etc. Some apps are so useful, that does not really matter but on some it is a pain in the butt so be warned that all iPad apps are not created equal.

You need some kind of cover for the iPad, it’s just too thin and slick to hold on to. Sexy but dangerous to use unprotected. Like I said earlier on, the Apple cover stinks. I have not found a replacement for it but I’m looking.

One thing the iPad excels at is playing back podcasts/videos for training. My lunch times are now “training” sessions where I prop up the iPad and watch it while I eat. I’ve used podcasts, MPEG files and ripped DVDs to play and it’s all good. I have watched movies solid for over four hours and still have over 60% battery life left. That is pretty amazing no matter the rest of my complaints.

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Also posted in equipment, photography, reviews, Travel Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Further Development Using Corel Painter

So I’ve been on a high key kick of late with Lightroom and Photoshop. I mean, EVERYONE does black backgrounds or vignettes and it’s old.. very old. I stumbled over something of a Hybrid High Key look while working on a junk image several weeks ago. I even posted an entry here on it and how I made it from junk to art. That just got my interest up as a new business angle. So for the past weeks, I have gone from fooling around with it to writing a Lightroom preset called “White out” to working in Photoshop to “paint” the final image.

Now I’ve extended it further with the use of Corel Painter 11 or you could use Corel Painter Essentials 4 which is considerably cheaper to get started with. I love digital painting. I love taking a sharp and detailed photograph and turning it into a painting or close to a painting that lacks the sharp details but has a wonderful texture and feel to it that a photograph is lacking. I will also add that a Wacom or other graphics tablet is pretty much required to do this well. A mouse is painful to use when you want to paint and you will get frustrated with it. In my case, I did try painting without the tablet and then I bought a used tablet for a cheap price to see if I really wanted to stay with it. I just bought a new medium Intuos 4 Wacom so I have committed myself to this style of post processing.

Photoshop CS5 has some basic painting elements now built in but I find them more of a play toy than anything ready for serious painting. But, they will get you by on the cheap if you already have CS5 and would not rather not sprint for Corel’s software OR you would rather not learn a new software package. I also feel that these basic brushes in CS5 are just the opening move for CS5 to move into Corel’s space. I think if Corel were smart, they would offer plugs for CS5 that extend CS5 more into the Corel way of painting. At least the 800lb gorilla is not quite as ready to step on you if you are a partner of theirs.  Just my opinion and I dont know diddly about what goes on in the backroom of Adobe or Corel.

White out conversion

White out conversion

So here is a picture that shows my original image plus the basic reworked image that has the background replaced with white and the levels reworked using my Whiteout action plus some manual tuning. I also used Portraiture to smooth out the skin.

I took this image, added about two inches around it in white and saved it as an eight bit TIFF file and brought it into Painter. I cloned the image and added a layer to the clone. Then I used the basic blender brush called “grainy watercolor” and painted out the edges. Then I used the same brush in various sizes to brush out fine details and to blend tones. I did add some color to places like the nose and lips which had blown out to white in the processing. I used black to add some lines to other blown areas, just a touch of a line, a hint as it were. I might add some color background but that defeats the point of a high key look in white.. but I might do it anyways. I also did some heavy retouching on the reflections in the glasses. Since I wanted the black dots on the hat and the black glasses to provide a counter point to all the white, I needed the glasses to be almost solid black with just a bit of reflection to provide the texture. Smooth black in my mind would be too much.

white out then painted

Whiteout when painted

You can see that while the painting looks good, there is still some room for improvements here and there. That is the trouble with this style of post reworking, you can get so caught up in refining things, you never finish it. I love to paint and I have several ideas for my business revolving around using painting as a tool. But like the basic art of photography, this will require a fair amount of practice on my part or yours if you want to try it also. I would warn you not to get too discouraged at first. Painter is not intuitive or at least I dont find it that way. Some of my Photoshop commands transfer but by in large, it’s a completely new set of skills and commands to learn. This is the attraction of trying to see how far I can push the new bristle brushes in Photoshop CS5 where I already feel comfortable.

Tools used in this article:

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Also posted in commercial photography, editing, editing software, highkey, lightroom, painting, photography, technique, training, workflow Tagged , , , , , , , |

Down the rabbit hole

Sometimes you need to be reminded what the priority should be and not what your think it is. I decided a few weeks back I wanted a new website where the site and the blog were one and the same. I dislike most “Photography” blogs since you end up with miles of images to scroll down through. I like blogs that are informational like what I’m doing right now. I dont like pages of stuff just to look at. The website has images and key info but it’s pretty static, too static in my opinion for today’s customer. So I start to look around. This blog is based on WordPress and I can use a “Theme” to divide up the content and give a “look and feel” to it that fits with my branding or my personality.

So I started “theme shopping” and there are ALOT of themes to choose from. But I did not find one I really liked till a few days ago. I liked the demo and so I bought it for a very cheap price. There was a reason why it was cheap. Just to get the basics to work right, I had to hack my way through a few pages of code and work out what they had done or not done. No biggie so I think, I can do this. After all, I am a geek and a pretty damn good one if I say so. The problem was that I have now spent almost four days on this stupid template and I was very much caught up in it and into it. I do like coding when I have a project like this and I can and have wasted hours on projects like this.

So today I’m listening to a podcast called “This week in Photography” (TWIP) and they are interviewing the owner of Livebooks.com. One of the things that was mentioned just jumped out at me. If you are working on your site, you are not shooting pictures.  Sounds like a no-brainer but when you are down the rabbit hole, you dont always see the light till someone shines it in your face.

In my case, I was way down the rabbit hole and I needed the light really bright to remind me that while coding is fun, it’s not helping shoot, get business, develop new skills like photo painting and more. I need a site and I need to do it with the minimal time and effort on my part. So my template efforts are being put on hold for now and I’ll stick with this simple blog for the time being. It’s not very fancy but it is serviceable and I dont think it is ugly, just kinda of plain.

I did look at Livebooks since they also made some very good points about trying to keep up with the various media players to support like the iPhone, iPad, Android etc..etc. Again, another time sink that I should avoid. I do have a plug in for iPhone support and it was free and fast to install. That worked well but spending time to develop or to hack something into working for me is not what I should be doing. I need to making images.. I need to be bettering my skills with photoshop, Lightroom and other revenue generating skills. After all, people who pay me want pictures and choose me for my skill at making pictures, not for my coding skills or website design.

So if anyone knows a really cool but easy to set up template for a blog/website, let me know.

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Also posted in photography, ramblings, workflow Tagged , , , |

FundySOS shooting, lighting and biz seminar

The crew at Left Turn Studio (FundySOS and TouchFlow) put on a two day seminar  called “Two guys that shoot” which covered alot of information. They hit on the business of running a studio and make money at it, how to market, what to market, how to shoot portraits of various types and do it cheaply. Kevin as probably forgotten more about lighting than many photographers will ever know. He shots have been on many bridal magazines, shot fashion for years and quite a bit more over 20 some odd years. Fundy is not much behind Kevin in world class experience as a photographer, teacher, studio manager etc. Together, they are a quite the pair in the studio and very successful at what they do.

The seminar was a mix of informal “class” teaching and real shooting with models, lights, flashes, beauty dishes, sunlight, shade etc. The information was very clear and concise and they took us through the entire process of shooting a modeling session to downloading, workflow, basic retouching in Lightroom then into Photoshop to use their own software to build out albums for the sale.

Some sample shots I did while in the class follows. Mine are typical of the results achieved by everyone there. And both Fundy and Kevin took the time to make sure everyone achieved good results and knew WHY they achieved them.
Jo - Jazz's Mum

This model was great to work with and we were stunned to find out she had just had her fifth child several months ago. In this shot, we used daylight from the storefront windows and a dual fluorescent bulb fixture from home depot with a silver reflector by her head to add just a touch of fill.

Jazz - railway

This was a former senior client who came back to model for us as a “senior” and was super to work with outside in the cool day. We used natural light and off camera flash for these shots. The off camera flash shots were taken with the flash in TTL but the camera set to full manual. All the reasons and settings were fully explained to us even if we already knew most of it. It was nice to hear it again and pick up all kinds of information on shooting seniors and what makes a successful modeling shoot for a senior album.

Jazz

This shot was taken in the classic LTS style of using flat light. This is one of the key concepts that the two guys that shoot (TGTS) really push during the two days. Flat light is your best friend for a flattering picture. It fills shadows, smoothes out the ski, helps keep the bags away from the eyes and more. Men can get away with more directional light but overall flat is where it’s at for a clean portrait. We saw this outside and inside the studio shooting with strobes.

Jo - B/W conversion

This was another shot using flat light from the front and set high shooting down. We also used white V cards and white seamless paper for the background. The conversion was done in LR and then tweaked in Photoshop with a couple of techniques plus Touchflow B/W Punch action. I used surface blur with a mask to smooth out the skin and pulled up the black point to get cleaner blacks.

Also posted in Album Software, commercial photography, editing, editing software, photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Self Improvement or how to Stop Whining and start Learning

I should be used to it by now, the ability of people to delude themselves that they can survive by being stagnate or by grousing how they are “owed” or “entitled” to training/self improvement etc. In a past life, I ran a website for data network security and offered alot of free resources for training either from myself or from others I knew in the industry. Sometimes the training cost a few bucks and man, did people complain about “I dont have the money” while they were posting comments about being at Starbucks five times a week, chasing tail at the bar or hitting movies at the theater. I took several to task about this contradiction in terms by pointing out that the training in question (about 150 dollars) could easily be paid for by cutting down on the lattes each week for several weeks, quit the bar scene for a few weeks (figuring 5 bucks a drink several drinks, cover charge etc) or missing a couple of movies dates ( figuring 10 a head, two heads plus popcorn/drink possible dinner). That just wound them up even more when it was suggested that to better themselves, they might need to make a small sacrifice to get it. Amazingly short sighted.

Now in photography with things changing very quickly, I hear photographers complaining about the same thing. It’s too expensive, I dont have time, it’s too far and a host of other excuses. Lets see, I pay for my training out of pocket since I dont work for a studio, I travel across the country a few times a year to get to it and I have to juggle my three kids at home with the training. Somehow I manage to get it to work out and I’m a better photographer for it. A few days of expert advice can save me months of time trying to work out techniques on my own. And thats not counting the peers I’ve met and friendships that have come around from my classes. Success in the business world is as much about the personal network you have as it is how well you can shoot and process pictures. Sometimes it’s more important as I have had a couple of gigs land in my lap not because I’m a well known shooter (not yet) but because I knew someone who knew someone else.

I’m writing this missive while cooling my heels in an airport lounge waiting for a connecting flight to attend a seminar by FundySOS which has great promise to improve my workflow, shooting techniques and more. Not a bad deal for 500 bucks for the class, another 500 for the airfare and three days of my time.

I buy alot of DVDs of training and I’m a long time customer of Kelby’s online training. At 20 bucks a month for all I can watch, it’s a heck of a deal. DVDs can be taken where ever I go which is very handy at times. The result is that in the past two years, I’ve learned more than if I had struggled on my own without any instruction. I could NOT afford to do the training if I want my business to succeed. Take this blog as an example, Kelby has a cool set of training for photographers using WordPress and at the end of two nights, I had added several cool plugins to help with my posting, added some custom features, learned about Zoomify, found a way to export out galleries really easily and more. That would have taken me days of digging on my own assuming I even found the information. Is this worth 20 bucks for the month? Hell yes it’s worth it. How much is YOUR time worth to you and your business? As a client, dont you want to see a photographer who is ontop of the latest technology and techniques so you can get the very best images for your money? I thought so, we all want the best value nowadays.

So before you complain about how tough it is to get training, how expensive it is and how you can not afford the time, can you really afford NOT to find that training somewhere? Can you really afford to spend hours and hours working out a technique when 30 minutes on watching the expert would show you how? Think about it..

Also posted in photography, ramblings, training Tagged , , , , |

Peek a boo anyone?

It’s a fun phrase we say to our kids to make them laugh. It’s not nearly as funny when it is about your private pictures showing up on the internet for all to see while supposedly locked up on your photographer’s website. This is a very true story which gets to heart of security, poor implementation and the cost of being ignorant of how the business back end is really being run.

Virtually every photographer has an internet presence and many have “private” galleries available for the clients to view proofs and other pictures. Almost every photographer has a hosting service that they pay for and much of the time since the photographer is not really a geek per say, they get a template site and thats pretty much it. In my own case, I am a geek and have been one for the past 25 years so while I started with a template, the hosting service lets me do pretty much what I want to do regarding my site. For example, I installed and built this blog from scratch using WordPress, it was not a canned option that I clicked on. That means I know exactly how my blog was installed, my passwords for the database are my own and not a “default” from a well known script.

The galleries are much the same, you can buy a gallery built from a script or you can build it yourself if you know how or can pay someone to. Most just use what the hosting service provides them, I mean, they are paying for a service provided to them by “experts” right?

In today’s topic the experts were a company called “Bludomain” and they offer some pretty cool canned sites to the photographer. But what nobody knew till the other day was their sites had a serious flaw that allowed anyone with Google and a few key words to find, search and grab any image in the gallery even if it were “password protected”. This is pretty scary when you think about some boudoir shots that are intended to be very private or private modeling sessions etc. Even shots of the under 18 crowd gets to be a pretty serious problem in the wrong hands.

And they are not the only ones, they were on the bigger ones but definitely not the only ones.

With a simple search and a simple string of “wedgalleries“, you get alot of this:

Index of /v1site_images/Wedgalleries/gallery2041 – 2 visits – 10:27pm
Index of /v1site_images/Wedgalleries/gallery2041. Icon Name Last modified Size Description. [DIR] Parent Directory – [IMG] Annie1.jpg 28-Aug-2009 19:39 147K …
www.kaceyluvi.com/v1site_images/Wedgalleries/gallery2041/

When you click on the link, you get this:

Forbidden

You don’t have permission to access /v1site_images/Wedgalleries/gallery2041/ on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Apache/2.0.63 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.0.63 OpenSSL/0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 Server at www.kaceyluvi.com Port 80

Forbidden is good right? well sort of but since Google has cached the data, you get this and with this data

Index of /v1site_images/Wedgalleries/gallery2041

Name Last modified Size Description
Parent Directory –
Annie1.jpg 28-Aug-2009 19:39 147K
Annie2.jpg 28-Aug-2009 19:39 147K
Annie3.jpg 28-Aug-2009 19:39 151K
Annie4.jpg 28-Aug-2009 19:39 117K

Ah,.. thats bad, because you can click and go here:

http://www.kaceyluvi.com/v1site_images/Wedgalleries/gallery2041/Annie1.jpg

And we can see Annie’s picture whether she wanted it to be public or not. And that is precisely the point, the photographer is responsible in the end for the security of the client’s images. Not the hosting service or the moron that set up the file server, the photographer will be held accountable by the client. At best, the photographer will be yelled at, at worst, they will be sued. Of course, the photographer can sue the web hosting company at the same time but the damage is done to their own reputation by then and the hosting company wont matter one whit.

Now, Google provides a way to get your pages removed from their cache and while thats nice, not all search engines are so accommodating. And even then there are specialized search and archive engines like the “wayback machine” that will keep the data no matter what. So your scanty and suggestive boudoir pose might end up websites that you really would not want to be seen on.

This is a very  good reason NOT to have your images put up on web galleries. For my own clients, I offer two ways of getting images, web galleries or my preferred method is to use “yousendit.com” where I send files via HTTPS to the client who just clicks and downloads the file.

You can also edit some files on your site IF you are a techie geek photographer or if you not, you can borrow one for a few minutes 🙂  There is a file called “robots.txt” that tells search engines what they can look at and where they can go on your site. Most search engines will use an agent that follows the rules for this “protocol” set out in the text file.

To precent the agents from looking into directories it pretty simple. You need to use a plain text editor to make this or to edit this file. Apps like Word will screw it up so use notepad or Nano or whatever so long as it’s a plain editor.

To block agents, simply enter the following lines into the robots.txt file:

User-agent: NameOfAgent
Disallow: /

Make sure that you enter the name of the unwanted agent exactly as it appeared in your reports or log files, e.g. Teleport Pro/1.29 and that there is a separate entry for each agent. You need to skip a line between each entries. The “/” in the above example means disallow access to any directory. You can also disallow access by spiders and agents to certain directories by name like I show below:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/

In this example, the asterisk (wildcard) indicates “all”. Don’t use the asterisk in the Disallow statement to indicate “all”, you need to use the forward slash instead.

You can get a list of agents here if you want to be more precise about who is being blocked. Once you have made this file, it needs to be in the root directory of your site.

This issue has been written about in a fair amount of detail on Digital Wedding Forum and the author there had the good grace to give warning to the photographers he was talking about. But what about the thousands of others? The ones that do not follow DWF or other sources of information like this?’

As a client, you need to research your photographer in more detail than just if the website or blog looks “cool”, you need to feel comfortable that the photographer understands your privacy and can keep it regarding your pictures. Ask how they host the galleries, ask about this issue and see what they say and ask what recourse you have if there is a problem of data “leakage” from the site.

Many of my peers are not really geeks and they should not be expected to be geeks but they are expected to hire an expert to make sure they and their client’s data is safe or as safe as prudence dictates. Blindly trusting the hosting company is really a bad idea for business and possibly for your pocketbook.

Also posted in commercial photography, copyright, photography, wedding photography Tagged , , |

Blog now iPhone compatible

It’s true! I found a way to make my blog iPhone compatible. I am using a WordPress plugin called “WPtouch” which will present the blog in an iPhone friendly manner. It is very adjustable and lets me pretty choose how and what I want you to see on the phone.

screenshot provided by wptouch

So check out my blog on your iPhone or iTouch and let me know how well or not it works. And if you use WordPress for you own blog, you might want to consider using something like it to present your blog in a iPhone friendly way as not to drive away any possible customer with a very crunched or broken blog page on their iPhone.

Also posted in Hardware

Copyright and the photographer

One of the biggest areas of misinformation and confusion for photographers is the area of “copyright“. Things like who owns it, when you can own it, how to get it, how to keep it and much more are things that all professional photographers should at least have a working knowledge of to protect themselves and their clients.

The good news is there are alot of places to get good information that is accurate which is probably one of the most important aspects of this. Inaccurate information can end up costing you more than you think in lost images and money.

Not being even close to being a lawyer, I will refrain from “telling” anyone any copyright information for fear of getting it wrong and then it coming back to bite me. Suffice to say that I’m working hard this year at learning my own way around copyright. I am now in the process of copyrighting ALL of my images that I have taken in the past and I have incorporated copyright into my workflow as “things to do after the shoot”. With the ability to file copyright online for something like 40 dollars, there is no reason in the world not to do it. When I did my first filing, the only issue I had was to break my files into smaller uploads due to the time restriction for uploads. The website also a bit confusing (designed by policy wonks I’m sure) but you have gone through it once, it is not so bad.

One way I’m learning copyright right now is a free course on iTunes U from MIT.

MIT OCW: 6.912 Introduction to Copyright Law, January (IAP) 2006

Here is the official syllabus

Course Highlights
This course features video lectures and an extensive list of readings. A description of assignments is also available. This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.
Course Description
This course is an introduction to copyright law and American law in general. Topics covered include: structure of federal law; basics of legal research; legal citations; how to use LexisNexis®; the 1976 Copyright Act; copyright as applied to music, computers, broadcasting, and education; fair use; Napster®, Grokster®, and Peer-to-Peer file-sharing; Library Access to Music Project; The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act; DVDs and encryption; software licensing; the GNU® General Public License and free software.

Another free source is the copyright office themselves (our tax dollars at work) with their fairuse FAQ.

There is another good FAQ found at photolaw.net on copyright.

This is one of the best editorial primers on copyright I have been able to find.

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