Stuff I think about

Image Licensing and Copyright Issues

Posted in Uncategorized by Billy Soh on March 27, 2009

When a photographer is hired to shoot, he is hired for the services and physical presence at the site. The images that he produces on the shoot immediately becomes his property and are automatically copyrighted to him. No matter what the content of the images are, be it his client’s products or services, the image belongs to the photographer. When the photographer hands over the images to his clients, the rights of the images still belongs to him. At such a point, the clients may have paid for the photographer’s services, the images used have not been paid for. The photographer will have given the images away to the clients for free if licensing or sale of copyrights are not enforced. 

While many photographers may not be very much aware, it is licensing images that will keep their business going.

Licensing may not be what the client likes to hear, enforcement of licensing is a form of commitment between the client and the photographer to produce good work. Good work goes a long way, and it is mutually beneficial. It could take place between photographers and clients as some forms of special arrangements too, whichever works better. Putting it down on paper is always best.


Times are bad? Or people pushing their luck? Or both?

Posted in Uncategorized by Billy Soh on March 12, 2009

Someone called me for my daily rates a few days ago, and I promptly quoted my normal figure that has been unchanged for the past 6 years. This person promptly asked me for my half-day rates, and I promptly halved it, (that’s a big mistake, costs of business never work out proportionally). Then the caller finally asked me if I could charge half-day rates for a certain number of hours over a couple of days (How ridiculous can it get?)

Does the caller even know how long it takes the photographer and team to set up and style the set for the shoot? Set-up and styling are part of the photography hours, for that amount of time each session that’s been requested it wouldn’t be possible to do anything properly. I hope the caller’s just trying to push his luck.

Any usual photo session won’t take anywhere less than three hours (unless it is a mass shoot set, and each shot may take about 10 minutes for portraits in a portrait studio). A tailor-made photo-shoot can hardly be completed in two hours.

And how about the back end post production work that photographers have to do? The general ratio for photography and post-shoot work is 1:3, every hour spent on photography equates to 3 hours of computer work. How would pictures even be right without this important step? It’s important that photographers complete this step themselves before anyone else lay their fingers on the images.

So in reality, one day’s shoot equates to 4 working days or 32 man-hours worth of work. It’s good money for a good amount of work without the financial burden of a permanent employee.

Digital photography is good, it makes the transition of photography from camera into various mediums quick and easily available. However many users don’t seem to know how to charge for work since the digital media for submission costs only a dollar. Damage well done. No film costs involved, but so much more work! The instancy of digital photography itself is a cost to be borne into the fees involved. Polaroids are instant, and it costs anywhere between $2.50 to $3 per click and pull on Fuji FP100C instant film packs.

Getting undercut is one thing, in the long run no side benefits from it; photographers won’t be able to upgrade and update their equipment as quickly, and clients don’t get the full benefit from the technological advancements for quality work. Unlike photography on film-the equipment hardly gets outdated, same quality of images are achieved every time, drum scanners are high quality, providing image data of at least 25mp.

Times are bad? Or did people make times bad? Or people pushing their luck? Or all of the above?

Now a quick one

Posted in Uncategorized by Billy Soh on March 5, 2009

So the past few entries probably seemed pretty pessimistic, but that’s just what had passed. I’ve been embracing the technology all the while, just that I feel extremely nostalgic over the good things learnt and some good things lost. Good things have to give way to better things, no?

I’m quite grateful for HDR, it really gives me the option to make images impossible to do if not for its existence. This coupled with photoshop is formidable, for once I don’t see this function to be like opium, but like coffee. 😀