Photo Manipulation Isn’t a Sin — But Lying About It Is

With technology making it so easy to profoundly alter photojournalistic images — deleting or adding items, changing the source of the lighting and so on — how can we, the audience, know that what we’re seeing is “the truth”?

Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Do I Stand Out from the Crowd?

In this installment of “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I answer one of the questions I am most frequently asked: “With so many photographers competing for the same clients that I am, how can I possibly stand out from the crowd?”

Has Demand for Microstock Photography Peaked?

In May 2009, I began following the sales of 198 of iStockphoto’s top contributors. According to iStockcharts data, these 198 ranked in the top 250 image sellers among the microstock site’s more than 100,000 total contributors.

12 Excuses for Shooting Photos for Free — and Why They’re Bogus

Ninety percent of small businesses fail within the first two years. With few exceptions, working for free is the fastest way for freelance photographers to become part of this 90 percent.

Here are a few excuses I’ve heard for working for free, along with my responses:

Why I Hired a Graphic Designer to Help Brand My Photography Business

Since most professional photographers are sole proprietors, we are used to doing everything ourselves — shooting images, processing, answering the phone, keeping the books and so forth. Just because we do all these tasks, however, that doesn’t mean we are the best suited for them. That’s definitely true of graphic design.

Project Management for Photographers: A New Series

First in a series.

“Photography” — the process of capturing a split second in time on film or in a digital file.

“Project management” — the process of managing a project from beginning to end.

My Journey to Build an Agency-Worthy Portfolio

Last August, I began contacting photographic agencies to seek representation, and among those I reached out to was Black Star. I wasn’t asked to be a Black Star photographer — but the interaction did change my photography.

Five Steps to a Successful Travel Photography Shoot

Editor’s note: Kathryn Wagner is a travel and food photographer who divides her time between Virginia and the Virgin Islands. In this, her first video for Black Star Rising, she offers five tips for shooting a travel assignment.

Photography SEO: Don’t Set It and Forget It

From time to time, the good people in the bowels of the Googleplex decide to tweak their algorithm to improve search results. It happened not long ago, and rest assured, it will happen again. If you care about marketing your business online, you had better be paying attention.

Eye on Image-Making: Why the First Amendment Matters, Part 1

In my previous column, I wrote about the Newseum in Washington, D.C., which is an interactive museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting more than 500 years of journalism. I said that one of my favorite parts of the Newseum was a permanent exhibit called the First Amendment Gallery.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: Should I Add a Client List to My Web Site?

In this installment of “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I answer the following question submitted by Marleen De Backer of Eden Studio Photography: “Do you think a commercial photographer should have a client list on their Web site?”

Why Photographers Shouldn’t Hate Creative Commons

Most professional photographers are adamantly opposed to Creative Commons licenses, which encourage free uses of images. But in at least one important way, I think Creative Commons is a good thing for image sellers.

My Eight Simple Rules for Digital Image Alteration

In the era of film photography, the accepted rules of printing had been established by masters long since departed. A photographer was limited in what he could do to enhance his images in the darkroom; he could dodge and burn, adjust the contrast, tone the final print.

Using Flexible Pricing to Upsell Wedding Photography Clients

(The following is excerpted from the new book The Successful Wedding Photographer, by the editors of Photopreneur.)

It should be clear that when it comes to pricing, there are a range of different approaches, each with its own set of advantages and weaknesses.

Wedding Photography Packages: A Variety of Approaches

(The following is excerpted from the new book The Successful Wedding Photographer, by the editors of Photopreneur.)

We’ve seen that the price a client pays for a wedding shoot always includes a number of different elements. Those elements range from the time spent taking the pictures to the number of prints the client receives to the type and number of albums the photographer prepares.

How Much Should You Charge to Shoot a Wedding?

(The following is excerpted from the new book The Successful Wedding Photographer, by the editors of Photopreneur.)

The problem with pricing wedding photography is that there is no single average price for a wedding shoot because there is no single average wedding shoot.

Exactly How Many Images Are Available Online?

What does the competition look like in terms of the number of images available online?

Among photo-sharing sites, ImageShack had 20 billion images and Facebook had about 15 billion as of last year. In February 2010, Facebook was reportedly adding more than 2.5 billion photos each month. News Corp.’s Photobucket currently has more than 8.2 billion photos, and Yahoo!-owned Flickr is in fourth place with over 3.4 billion.

Eye on Image-Making: My Visit to the Newseum

Do you know what’s on the front page of this morning’s Iran Daily, published in Tehran? You will if you visit the Web site of the Newseum, an interactive museum based in Washington, D.C.

When Buying Software Overseas Is This Hard, No Wonder Piracy Is Rampant

I’ve found that many software companies time their new releases for late at night in the United States. That’s lunchtime here in Taiwan. So when I learned over lunch, via Twitter, that Adobe Lightroom 3 had been released, I immediately went to the Adobe site to buy my copy.

Is HDR Imaging Ethical for Photojournalists?

High dynamic range imaging, or HDR, is a technique through which three or more photographs of different exposures are merged to create a single image that displays a greater dynamic range of luminance, characterized by more shadow and highlight detail.

At Too Many Museums, It’s Check Your Camera at the Door

When I walked into the museum in Boca Raton, Fla., the first thing I noticed were the signs warning visitors not to take photographs, and instructing us to check our cameras at the entrance.

I had my Leica and two lenses with me and had no interest in checking them, so I tucked my camera in my bag, bought a ticket and began wandering about the place.

What Should You Charge a Client Who Wants to “Go Viral” with Your Images?

James Cavanaugh recently posed this question to members of LinkedIn’s ASMP group: “A client wants you to create photographs that they can use on social sites so they can ‘go viral’ to promote their company. It means potentially countless people may use your copyrighted work. How would you approach such a request?”

In the Digital Race, Publishers Lose Sight of Quality

Photography, like most industries affected by a center of gravity shift to digital, has seen more than a migration from film to data packets. It has also experienced fundamental shifts in how publishers select images.

Fleeing Snipers and Soldiers in Bangkok

The monk surveyed the tall buildings, focusing his binoculars on every little movement. Who was doing the shooting? Where would the bullets come from next?

I photographed him nervously, certain that any sniper seeing a Westerner would immediately pick me as a target.

How Close Is Close Enough?

One of the characteristics of a strong composition is that it tells your audience your intention in making a photograph. If someone has to ask you what it is you are trying to show them, that’s one question too many.