Here’s Why to Add Your Name and Copyright Notice When Posting Photos Online

Copyright infringement is much too common these days. To reap the big statutory rewards (of at least $750 and up to $150,000 for willful infringements, plus costs and attorneys’ fees) from prosecuting infringements, you must have registered your photograph with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to the infringement or within three months of publishing it (making it available to the public).

Online Tools to Stay Competitive in the Digital Age

I saw an interesting snippet in the news last month that total ad revenue across print media had actually declined; it was reported as a “first.” Whether a first or not, it’s significant. It explains why newspapers are working so frantically to expand their Web sites — and why they are asking photographers to expand their skill sets. The good news is that the Internet gives news gatherers some exciting new options for presenting stories with multimedia and video.

If You Don’t Know Your Cost of Doing Business, Chances Are It’s More Than You Think

You never really know your cost of doing business until you start doing business. No matter how thorough you are in your advance planning, it’s likely that expenses you never imagined will impact your bottom line.

The Case Against Photo Illustrations

On Monday, we laid out a case for embracing the photo illustration as a legitimate product of photojournalism — rather than the profession’s redheaded stepchild. Perhaps, as Michael Coyne articulated, “once we are open and honest about which images are manipulated, and the term ‘photo illustration’ is common practice … there will be less incentive for the photojournalist to be deceptive.” Furthermore, perhaps there are cases where “the photographer feels [it] is necessary to show the viewers the totality of a situation.”

Why Is “Photo Illustration” a Dirty Word in Journalism?

Most photojournalists are not crazy about “photo illustrations” — the only category of newsroom artwork that permits substantial photo manipulation. In fact, many news photographers flat out hate them.

Is There Hidden Treasure in Your Digital Outtakes?

In the days when I shot only slide film, the number of photos I shot was limited by how much film I was willing to carry and how much money I was able to spend on film and processing. Even if a client was picking up the tab, there was still the issue of how much film I felt like carrying; 10 rolls a day for a 10-day trip meant 100 rolls of film. That’s a chore — especially when you’re going through airports and having to have the film inspected by hand. Today, though, you can fit thousands of photos on a stack of memory cards small enough to carry in your jeans pocket. This creates a lot of opportunity — if you take advantage of it.

Don’t Be a Copyright Hypocrite

There are two types of creatives in this world: those who have had their works infringed, and those who will. But just because “the kids” think it’s OK to steal your music, video or photography, that doesn’t make it so. And the worst thing you can do as a photographer is to be a hypocrite and infringe on the works on other creatives (because everybody else is doing it) while whining about your own situation.

Will Photographing Same-Sex Ceremonies Hurt or Help Your Wedding Photography Business?

For a wedding photographer, the dividing line between what’s right and what’s wrong for your business and your life doesn’t get any trickier than this: same-sex weddings.

On Monday, California became the second state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages; a number of other states allow civil unions for homosexual couples. Same-sex marriages are expected to add $700 million to the wedding business in California and provide a major boost to the economy statewide, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Embedded with the Enemy

The idea that the press exists to cover all aspects of a war isn’t new. Reporters have a history of putting their lives on the line to cover the events on the ground as they happen. And as long as we’ve had photojournalists, we’ve had daring individuals who go out of their way to get the shot less taken. But there can be a fine line between aggressively documenting events as they happen — and actively supporting one side in a conflict.

Backing Up for a Disaster

The severe weather warning sirens in my town have been going off more and more lately due to tornadoes. But this isn’t what prompted me to write about the importance of backing up your computer.

One of the students I taught in Hawaii packed her computer and backup drive in the same bag. This, of course, is the bag the airline lost when she flew home. She lost everything she had worked on at school.

Eye on Image-Making: Visual Literacy

I had a few days to kill in Baltimore recently, while my wife attended a conference, so I decided to visit some of the city’s fine museums. As luck would have it, The Baltimore Museum of Art, which is adjacent to the beautiful campus of Johns Hopkins University, had an exhibition called “Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900–1960.” My purpose in writing about this exhibition, which ended on June 8, is to begin a discussion — which I hope you will join — about visual literacy and the importance of visual images in today’s world.

The Do-It-All Era of Digital Photography Has Its Advantages

We’ve just finished the ultimate marathon of weddings — 10 weddings in the last three weeks. Phew! It’s one reason I’ve dropped away a bit as a blogger. But I’m happy to say we’ve made it through, and I’m a firm believer that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Things I Miss, and Don’t Miss, About My Newspaper Job

It’s been two months since I left my job as a newspaper staff photographer to run my own business, focusing on wedding photography. Because I made the jump just as wedding season was starting, I’ve stayed busy — so I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on my decision. But when I have taken a moment to look back, I’ve realized there are some things I really miss.

Want Professional Respect? Then Avoid These Three No-Nos

Whether on news or corporate assignments, there’s a certain bare minimum of professionalism that your clients and colleagues should expect. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to know this. Here are three no-nos for photographers who want to be taken seriously:

Flip Schulke: An Extraordinary Life

Legendary Black Star photographer Flip Schulke died at age 77 of congestive heart failure last month. Flip will be best remembered as one of the foremost chroniclers of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the U.S. civil rights movement. Here are quotes and anecdotes from a few of the articles published upon Flip’s passing, which we hope will inspire you to click the links and learn more.

In the Age of Digital Manipulation, Sometimes the More We See, the Less We Know

An unintended consequence of the digital age is a growing distrust and skepticism of photography’s ability to convey truth. Digital technology makes manipulating images so easy and fast that people have begun to challenge any picture that does not conform to what they perceive as a truthful representation. Two recent media images speak directly to this issue.

Self-Portrait Studio Helps Make Photographers Gala a Success

At the White House News Photographers Association’s annual awards gala last month, we recognized photographers for their compelling images of political figures and major news events. But the photographs taken at the event helped make the evening a special one.

Un-Bearing Witness

The camera, dislocated from its user, is worthless. Laying unattended on a dirt road in Iraq, the camera is the focal point of a picture that appears to be a scene of violence and suffering. A shadow is cast across part of the camera’s body. People died here.

Every Relationship Is an Opportunity for Growth

I love to play basketball. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to play not only with good players, but with a few professional players as well. This experience hasn’t made me a pro-caliber player; however, it has helped me to realize my potential as a player. I’m not in the physical condition of my youth, but my improved understanding of the game has made me a better player than when I could jump above the rim.

Six Strategies for Getting Closer to Your Subject

How should a photojournalist, or any journalist for that matter, develop a relationship with his or her subject? Without forming a personal connection, it’s difficult to move beyond a basic understanding of the subject — and false perceptions or cliched interpretations can result. The photojournalist falls into the potential trap of misrepresenting the subject. Here are six strategies I use to build closer relationships with my subjects.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: Grading

Grading student work is one of the most important, and most challenging, duties of being an educator. As one of my colleagues, Keith Kenney, recently reminded me, setting goals and evaluating our students’ progress are what we as educators do — they are the twin pillars supporting the entire education edifice. So, here are some thoughts about the grading process, as it applies to the visual communication courses I teach in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina. As usual, I’d love to read your comments, whether you are an educator or a student.

Sony Music’s Photo Archive Hits a Sour Note for Photographers

I’ve made images of probably over a thousand artists and musicians over the nearly two decades I’ve been making images. In fact, I am shooting a performance of a well-known ’80s band on Monday for a client. On these assignments, I maintain my rights to these images, as well as preclude any conditions to my exercising those rights. An article in the New York Times yesterday shed light on why this business practice is a good idea.

Gas Prices Got You Down? Let the Photo Ops Come to You

With the price of gas edging ever closer to the $5 per gallon mark (at least here in Connecticut), the cost of gas is really having a profound effect on summer travel plans and impromptu shooting trips. It can cost as much for a tank of gas now as it does for a night in a motel. It’s nuts. And if you’re shooting photos for a personal project or for your stock files, it’s hard to justify expensive trips these days.

Death as Contributing Background

The body is lifeless — embedded into the concrete and dust that once was a school. Framing the faceless gray form, a handful of Chinese soldiers in green camouflage gently sweep the ground around her. There are five soldiers, two with shovels, one pointing at an object inches away from a limp hand. The viewer is forced to look down upon shadows and rubble. We do not know this person. She is one of thousands of victims from the earthquake that shook China to its core two weeks ago.

Myanmar and Memory

The rhetorical agency of this image proposes to firmly establish a relationship between the human conscience and a troubled reality — a punch in the gut that comes from recognition of the enormity of loss and suffering that is Myanmar today. The picture assumes that this lifeless form graphically and unequivocally captures the pain of a nation, as well as the powerlessness of an outside world waiting to come to its aid.