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Author Topic: The real value of an image is what it means to a client  (Read 6275 times)
Ellis Vener
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« on: August 22, 2012, 10:34:53 AM »
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this is the best post you'll read about the business of photography all year:
http://www.petapixel.com/2012/08/21/this-photograph-earned-one-wedding-photographer-a-18000-payday/
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Ellis Vener
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 11:58:37 AM »
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Thank you.
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tom b
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 03:29:43 PM »
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The client was the bride.

The photographer sold her image to a pharmaceutical company probably without her consent or knowledge. This is the ugly side of copyright, you have to pay the photographer more just to make sure that he/she doesn't use your image in the way it was intended.

No, this is not the best read about the business of photography that I will read this year, its an ugly story that shoes the ugly side of photography.

Cheers,
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 03:41:06 PM »
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Not so. If you follow on to the link at the bottom of the article, to the original posting on Mireles site you'll see that a couple of commenters raised the same concern.  Mireles responded that the photographer in question contacted his client (the bride) received permission and compensated her for use of the image. 
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tom b
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 03:58:38 PM »
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He did the right thing but that doesn't mean that the photographer holding the copyright of an image you commission isn't ugly.

We've all seen studio shots of the deceased plastered all over newsstands and on television.

It's a kind of blackmail, pay me more money or I have the right to use your image how I want.

Cheers,

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RFPhotography
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2012, 04:43:58 PM »
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What are you going on about?  Whatever it is it doesn't seem to have a lot to do with this topic.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 07:31:42 PM »
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He did the right thing but that doesn't mean that the photographer holding the copyright of an image you commission isn't ugly.

We've all seen studio shots of the deceased plastered all over newsstands and on television.

It's a kind of blackmail, pay me more money or I have the right to use your image how I want.

Cheers,


You have made unfounded accusations Mr. Brown.

Copyright in the U.S.A works quite a bit differently than in Australia or the U.K or Canada, and possibly other countries.  There is nothing at all "ugly" about retaining ownership in intellectual properties one creates. Those ownership rights to the intellectual property are yours to keep or sell, either in whole or in part. That isn't blackmail at all. I am sorry you feel that way.


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Ellis Vener
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 07:42:24 PM »
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My point here is simple: uniqueness adds value, how the photo will be used adds value, where it will be used adds value, for how long it will be used adds value.

Not understanding all of that absolutely decreases the value of your work. Ask questions, find these things out. Don't sell yourself cheap just to get the job. Good clients know the value of good work and bad clients you don't want to work for.
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Ellis Vener
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Schewe
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2012, 08:59:02 PM »
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My point here is simple: uniqueness adds value, how the photo will be used adds value, where it will be used adds value, for how long it will be used adds value.

Not understanding all of that absolutely decreases the value of your work. Ask questions, find these things out. Don't sell yourself cheap just to get the job. Good clients know the value of good work and bad clients you don't want to work for.

In the grand scheme of things, it's the lack of understanding of the "value" of an image that drives photographers towards vastly underestimating the value of their work. The "value" is subjective and has zero to do with how hard it was to create the imageĖonly how much a potential client may value its use.

The bogus discussion about ugliness of copyright only plays into the hands of some who would like to undervalue photography...yes, it would be "ugly" to license a photo for some uses without an express written consent for such use. But confusing copyright with a model release is stupid...one has zero to do with the other. As long as the photographer secured the right to release the image for commercial use, any discussion of "ugliness" is totally bogus...and only shows a total lack of understanding of the industry...something some art buyers would try to take advantage of. Most photographers have little knowledge of what their work is really worth.
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bill t.
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2012, 12:00:23 AM »
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How many people here have clients who can cut $18,000 deals per single photo?  Must be nice!

There's another side to this.  I can from personal experience tell you stories about photographers and artists who were deleted from the roster because of perceived gouging or of simply seeming to be "on the high end."  That happens most frequently when artists are dealing with junior executive contacts who understand published pricing guides better than artistic worth.  People skills and direct contact with the creative cadre, and preferably also with somebody rather high in the executive suite, are essential in these matters.  You need champions within the client's ranks to make the big deals.  Networking, yeah!
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tom b
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2012, 02:47:56 AM »
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At the same time I was reading the the article on which this thread was based on I was also watching an episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which based on the format of Saturday Night Live. So I could see the writers of this show having fun with a photographer selling wedding photos for a pharmaceutical advertisement. The episode I was watching has Matthew Perry's character getting stoned on prescription drugs.

The article to me seemed crass as it made no mention of gaining permission and sharing the profit. It seemed to shout out, "look how much money I got from that bride's image". So I took exception to it.

Yes, it would be "ugly" to license a photo for some uses without an express written consent for such use. Yes Schewe that's all I was pointing out. How many people (outside the usual businesses) know what they are consenting to when they hire a photographer and sign the contracts.

Cheers,
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2012, 03:03:39 AM »
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How many people here have clients who can cut $18,000 deals per single photo?  Must be nice!

There's another side to this.  I can from personal experience tell you stories about photographers and artists who were deleted from the roster because of perceived gouging or of simply seeming to be "on the high end."  That happens most frequently when artists are dealing with junior executive contacts who understand published pricing guides better than artistic worth.  People skills and direct contact with the creative cadre, and preferably also with somebody rather high in the executive suite, are essential in these matters.  You need champions within the client's ranks to make the big deals.  Networking, yeah!


That's the best bit of business information I've read here yet. It was the basis for my entire later career: short of dealing with the right people you met only those junior ones who lived in fear of spending money. The same factor was also my death with a particular very good fashion client: he was a top gun in a Scottish fashion chain and then moved to Ireland to rescue a retailer there (in the same group) that was struggling. From the moment he left town the doors closed for me: the replacement, a chap who'd hung around on the management periphery, panicked and wouldn't commission work; no-one took over from me; the work simply ceased immediately.

It was very much top-led with my calendars too: working at director level gave me people who could confidently say yea or nay by themselves. Again, I lost a very valuable client because of the change in management responsibilities: from dealing with the Marketing Director for several years I was finally confronted with a change that led me to having to deal with the PR Manager, a guy who insisted in using local girls for the calendar rather than follow the habit of using the ones from the London pool, where all the talent really lay. Inevitably, disaster for me. I took the fall, despite having voiced serious warnings about the folly. In fact, I think it was the fact that I opposed the chap's ideas that led to the loss of the contract after those six or seven years of nice productions. Small guys don't understand much of anything beyond their home town. Worse, they are not aware of how little they know.

That's why, in the end, you see the top guns work for many years in the top magazines etc. They know the right people and as long as they deliver, they keep the work. And why not?  Both sides need the assurance that things will go well.

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 06:48:15 AM by Rob C » Logged

RFPhotography
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2012, 06:20:39 AM »
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Copyright in the U.S.A works quite a bit differently than in Australia or the U.K or Canada, and possibly other countries.  There is nothing at all "ugly" about retaining ownership in intellectual properties one creates. Those ownership rights to the intellectual property are yours to keep or sell, either in whole or in part. That isn't blackmail at all. I am sorry you feel that way.

Care to explain how copyright is so different in the U.S.?  We have the same rights in Canada as creatives in the U.S.  There are similar exemptions (Fair Dealing vs. Fair Use).  The biggest difference is that, in Canada, we aren't required to register copyright in order to pursue statutory/punitive damages.  But the underlying principles of copyright are the same. 
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Colorado David
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2012, 06:41:14 AM »
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The particulars of this one image are a straw man in this discussion.  The real topic is the value of the image, not the compensation of the bride.  I have a colleague who has thousands of images placed with an Alaskan stock image library. He does okay with them, but there is one guy who has one image placed with the agency who makes $20,000 per year.  His one image is a dramatic photograph of a killer whale breaching in a strait.  What's the value of this image?  Obviously it's $20,000 per year.  I don't think he secured a model release from the whale.  This discussion can be distilled down to the very words used in the subject line; The real value of an image is what it means to a client.
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tom b
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2012, 06:55:58 AM »
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"The real topic is the value of the image, not the compensation of the bride."

There would be no value without the bride, expleteive deleted.

Cheers,
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sbay
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« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2012, 10:02:13 AM »
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Care to explain how copyright is so different in the U.S.?  We have the same rights in Canada as creatives in the U.S.  There are similar exemptions (Fair Dealing vs. Fair Use).  The biggest difference is that, in Canada, we aren't required to register copyright in order to pursue statutory/punitive damages.  But the underlying principles of copyright are the same. 


I'm not sure if this is the difference Ellis is referring to, but in Canada, the photographer is not the owner of the copyright by default. Unless otherwise specified in the contract, I believe it would go to the person commissioning the work. This might be the bride/groom for wedding photography.

Quote

Unlike other Canadian independent creators (creators who are not employees), photographers are NOT automatically the first owners of copyright in their work. Canada's copyright law singles out photographs and some other types of commissioned artistic works for different treatment.

Section 13(2) of the Canadian Copyright Act states that the copyright owner is the one who commissions and pays for the žengraving, photograph or portrait. In other words, provided a client or buyer commissions the production of a photograph and pays for such a work, the client/buyer automatically holds the copyright on the photograph and/or žengraving - not the photographer or person who created the žengraving - unless the buyer and photographer/creator have an agreement to the contrary. The Copyright Act applies this provision to a žportrait or žother original created on a commission basis, but doesn't specifically define what types of commissioned illustrations this includes..

From

http://www.capic.org/resources.html?screen=bp&t=bp_section&chapter=What+You+Sell

also see

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/C-42.pdf (section 13-2)

Not sure about UK/Australia but it wouldn't surprise me if they had similar laws given their common origin.

Stephen
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2012, 10:07:10 AM »
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Quote from: BobFisher
Care to explain how copyright is so different in the U.S.?  We have the same rights in Canada as creatives in the U.S.  There are similar exemptions (Fair Dealing vs. Fair Use).  The biggest difference is that, in Canada, we aren't required to register copyright in order to pursue statutory/punitive damages.  But the underlying principles of copyright are the same.  
My understanding (which may be and likely is out of date) is that in Canada the client who commissions the work automatically owns the copyright. while i nthe USa the reverse is true the creator of the work, unless he or she agrees to different terms, automatically owns the copyright.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 11:56:46 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2012, 10:14:25 AM »
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"The real topic is the value of the image, not the compensation of the bride."

There would be no value without the bride, expleteive deleted.

Cheers,
And apparently the sale was made both with the bride and groom's consent and that they  were financially compensated as well.  If that is true then the photographer fulfilled his ethical and legal obligation.

Also to be very clear, no drug manufacturer is  ever going to use  a photo of a recognizable person in an advertisement without a signed model release in hand. For a very obvious reason: it would open them up to being on the losing end of a very high value  settlement or judgement if the case went to trial.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 11:55:08 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
Colorado David
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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2012, 10:55:47 AM »
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"The real topic is the value of the image, not the compensation of the bride."

There would be no value without the bride, expleteive deleted.

Cheers,

Another strawman.  The discussion is about the value of an image.  It could just as well have been a whale or an airplane or a mountain.  You may take exception to the use of the bride in this image if you wish, regardless of the fact that it has been fully explained, but the discussion is still about the value of the image which may have been anything.  I have no need to use expletives, deleted or not, to express my point.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2012, 11:05:36 AM »
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My understanding (which may and likely is out of date) is that in Canada the client who commissions the work automatically owns the copyright. while i nthe USa the reverse is true the creator of the work, unless he or she agrees to different terms, automatically owns the copyright.

There have been recent changes in Canadian copyright law: http://www.canphoto.net/bill-c-11-receives-royal-assent-canadian-photographers-will-finally-own-copyright-of-commissioned-photos/.
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