The World Needs a Hero (Re-Blog)

This is a copy of the blog from a very talented young photographer named Blair Bunting.  If you are a photographer of any skill level you need to check him.  I want to thank Blair for this very touching blog.  It is so full of selflessness that I just had to pass it on.  Please take the time to read the link to Jalopnick.

“I respect the man that does his work, not for respect, but for others. True selflessness is a rarity in society and there are many professors that would be glad to wax poetic of absolute altruism being a myth. However, I feel that the true heroes that exist rarely get attention because that is not what they long for.

Such is the case with Mr. Lenny Robinson, who up until today was just known as the guy that got pulled over in a black Lamborghini while wearing a full Batman outfit. I will admit my confusion and slight intrigue into what I thought would make for a funny story on set. However, the reality of the situation turned out to be a story I will tell on set, at home, and to anyone willing to listen.

You see, Mr. Robinson is a true man, a true compliment to the word man and every bit the man I aspire to be.  It turns out that he spends his days dressed as the Caped Crusader going around to children’s hospitals, inspiring the children that there are true heroes and that they themselves are superheroes in their own right.

The irony of this all is that in doing so, Mr. Robinson has become a hero to people like me. He found a worthy cause and selflessly gives his life to it with the hope of never getting anything in return. A world that needed a hero has just found one.

Please go over to Jalopnik, and have a read of the full story, it will make your day.

And to Mr. Robinson….. Thank you”

Once Bitten

Today’s lesson is one that I think everyone makes at some point in their career.  That is jumping on a job before the contract is secured.  Hopefully you do this early on, learn from that mistake and move forward.  All the more wiser for it.  Well I have made said mistake.  In my zealousness to further my career, secure bigger clients and to expand my business I went and did a series of hotels in Atlantic City for a company.  (I won’t mention them here but if you follow my blog you to whom I am referring.)  Well a couple of days after the shoot they forwarded to me a copy of their standard contract.  After reading the document thoroughly I was struck by their clause regarding “Copyright and Intellectual Property”.  I read it over and over and over again.  I then referenced my copy of “Professional Business Practices in Photography” as put out by the ASMP.  At first I thought my interpretation of the clause was incorrect, but then after reading through the book, I a came to the conclusion that I was correct.  What I found was that the way their contract was worded they could lay claim to any and all of my work whether related to their industry or not, including items created before the signing of the contract unless I listed every single one of them separately.  Now I have over 2 Terabytes of images and to make sure that I included every image would have been at best a daunting task.  So I politely sent them an email informing them that I would not be able to sign the contract the way it stood as I was not going to give up my rights to my present body of work or potentially any future work created.  I also informed them that their contract would not allow me to do work for other real estate people including agents, brokers, architects, developers or contractors without them potentially laying claim to those images as well and thusly putting me at risk of a breach of contract suit from those other clients.

Jump ahead two weeks.  I had not heard anything from them until I emailed them on Wednesday informing them that I was getting ready to offer the images to the hotels I shot directly or I could send them a contract giving them non-exclusive web rights for the agreed upon amount.  They finally responded saying that a new contract was being written up but was tied up in legal and that I should not move forward with presenting the images to the hotels directly as they still considered what I did a “Work for Hire” even though no contract has been signed.  Now in my opinion because there was not a contract in force when the images were taken, that until such time as a contract has been signed those images are mine to with as I please.

The bottom line is the fact that we are rapidly approaching the 30 day mark from the shoot.  I still have not been compensated for my time or images.  I have incurred the costs of driving an hour and a half from home, tolls, an overnight stay (because the shoots took longer than anticipated) and meals.  Anyone who runs their own business knows that you typically wait 30 days before people even begin to think about paying you.  Unfortunately it looks like it’s going to be a lot longer than that before I get paid on this gig.

Lesson learned.

As Promised

Well I finished up the property in Villanova yesterday and delivered the images to the client.  Though I have to admit that digital downloads are not for the faint of heart or those who are intimidated by technology.  I have avoided using an FTP style of delivery as I know the complications involved with getting your FTP service set-up and the potential issues on the client end.  So I have opted to use You Send It.  It seems to work fairly well and all the client needs to do is create a free account.  Then I can share folders with them that contain the images for their property.  Up to 2 gigs worth of images.  No hassles with IP addresses and ports or dealing with FTP client services like Filezilla or Fetch.  It’s also cheaper than using an outside FTP company.

So here is a couple of shots from the house in Villanova.  Enjoy.  Have a great day!


It’s Been Awhile

Today I was getting set to start work when I noticed I hadn’t blogged in long time.  Not that there hasn’t been a bunch to talk about but life just somehow got in the way.  I won’t bore you with all the personal details.  Let’s just say I’ve driven down and up the the Eastern Seaboard in past couple of weeks, plowed through a TON of paperwork with my girlfriend, and driven about 1000 miles.  And did I mention negotiating for a new house?  Not once but twice.  Oh and tried to get some work done.  Well the weather didn’t cooperate last week and made it very difficult to get the exterior shots for this house I’ve been trying to get finished.  I finally did get it finished and am working on the post processing right now.  In fact I should be doing that as opposed to typing this but I thought you guys might have missed me or something.  As usual I will post a couple of shots.  That’ll have to be either later today or tomorrow.

In the meantime enjoy this little tidbit.  Conjuring up the warmer days to come.

A Long Day

Yesterday I did my first set of shoots for Hotel Tonight.  We shot the Palace Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, and Resorts AC.  It ended up being a really long day.  We shot 3 hotels in about 7 and a half hours.  Not my ideal situation but…….  I guess you can’t always have the time you would like.  I still think that in general the clients got some awesome images.  All of the hotels have asked to license some or all of the images in addition to Hotel Tonight using them.  I’m really excited about that.  I am starting the selection and post processing today.  I should have them done within the week.  I’m thinking that there’s probably going to be between 25 and 30 finished images when it’s all said and done.  Stay tuned.

More Great News

I forgot to mention this earlier.  The landlord of the building where my girlfriend Kim works has given me 4 spaces to hang pictures.  How awesome is that?!   A big thank you to my girl for working that out. Now to choose which pictures.  Feel free to peruse my website and Flickr account.  I’m open to suggestions.

More Work!!!!

Well I know it’s been a couple of days.  What can I say.  I’ve been busy.  This is not a bad thing.  I’ve done 12 houses in the past 2 weeks.  As usual everybody needs their images “NOW”.  I’ve been doing this for a company called Floor Plan Online.  It’s been an OK gig but they have very unrealistic turn-a-round time.  24 for images and 48 for floor plans.  It makes for a grueling schedule and really limits the amount of work I can do in a week.  And as usual, the pay is not great.  They actually pay me more for the floor plans than they do for the images.  It should really be the other way around.  But it just goes to show how much people discount the photography.  I do think my work is far exceeds anything else available on their website.  For that I am very proud.

Now for the big news.  I have landed another gig shooting hotels and resorts for a company called “Hotel Tonight”.  They are an app company that has an app for your Iphone or Droid that allows you same day booking of hotel room.  They work in conjunction with the hotels and provide deep discounts on leftover rooms.  When you log in you select the city you need the reservation in.  They provide you with 3 choices.  Unlike other sites, you get to see the hotel, a couple of pictures and the rate you will be charged.  No you don’t get a choice of king or queen, or the size of the room.  Remember these are leftovers.  But you do get a great rate.  I will be doing  my first shoot for them next Tuesday.  I will post some images as soon as I’m done.

Have a great day!

It’s FREE!

Lately I have found a plethora of ads on Craigs List of people wanting Fair Trade or even free photography for their “modeling portfolio”.  All with words to the effect of “I will grant the rights to use the images in your portfolio as well.”   It sickens me to see this.  Because what these individuals do is discount the art of photography.  First of all if you want to be a professional model, hire a professional photographer.  Secondly would you model for free if you were a professional model just so I could improve my portfolio.  Thirdly.  As the photographer the images are mine.  Not yours.  I will grant you the right to use the images.  Not the other way around.   And finally.  You get what you pay for.  Now granted there are a lot of individuals out there who aren’t professional photographers who can do an amazing job.  Some better than others.  Some better than people calling themselves professional photographers.  But what you are doing by placing these ads is making it hard for the true professionals to make a living wage.  People already discount photography.  Mainly because everyone and their uncle has a decent camera.  AND think they know how to take a good picture.  But it goes far beyond the camera and equipment.  When you hire a professional you hire someone who has knowledge and training in lighting and posing and now-a-days post production.  As a professional I have hours behind the lens crafting my skills.  I have spent countless hours taking courses and studying the photographers I admire.  I have also spent a lot of money to be a member of professional organizations such as ASMP or PPA or NAPP or others.  All of this to guarantee you as my client a professional image when done.   It is tempting to answer these ads especially when things are slow.  But do yourself a favor and join one of the local photography clubs. Some of them put together meet ups where everyone pitches in a few dollars and hire models.  Everyone gets a chance to shoot.  Everyone gets to improve their skills.  Everyone gets to improve their portfolio and in the long run nobody feels that they have asked anyone to do something for free.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.  Here’s another image from the sunset at the Getty.  Have a great Saturday!