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Your Digital Photos Are Too Professional 739

ScentCone writes "AP's technology writer Brian Bergstein reports that your 8 megapixel camera, and lukewarm+ lens/Photoshop skills may keep you from getting over the counter image printing services. Professional photographers have successfully sued processors (like Wal-Mart) for reproducing their digital works without permission. Clerks are now being told to deny print orders for some work that looks too good. Talented amateurs are having to jump through hoops, present documents, and otherwise cajole teenage cashiers into taking their orders. No doubt one successful suit costs more than a thousand denied amateurs' orders, but sheesh. On the other hand, pro wedding photographers depend mightily on the income derived from reproducing their work, and it will take time for things to evolve to the point where clients are willing to pay a lot more up front in exchange for wider image rights after the fact. There's no well-supported digital equivalent to a negative (as reasonable proof of ownership), so retailers are defensively resorting to near paranoia to stay out of court."
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Your Digital Photos Are Too Professional

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  • by TPIRman ( 142895 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:11PM (#12844126)
    Adding insult to injury, the photofinishers refuse to give explicit guidelines as to what qualifies as "professional-looking" (in all likelihood there are no guidelines, of course). But an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune on this topic shows one customer's example of a photo rejected by Wal-Mart [], alongside an equally good-looking photo that Wal-Mart, in its infinite wisdom, deemed amateurish enough to print.
  • Paiin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by COMON$ ( 806135 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:13PM (#12844157) Journal
    My dad takes photos for Seniors in High school who cannot afford a professional photographer. He started getting better than the Professionals and when he went to get his photos developed he had to jump through a lot of hoops convincing the store clerks that he was legit.

    So are we trying to squash small business here or what? if you are a professional and dont digitally sign your photos then that is your fault.

  • by lthown ( 737539 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:17PM (#12844210)
    My brother does wedding photos [] and gives the "digital negatives" to the people - he just charges for time. He sent me this link yesterday, he said now he knows why more and more of his clients are asking for print release forms. He is starting to include a stack with the CD when he gives it to people.
  • Dear Wal*Mart (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:25PM (#12844341)
    You're a behemoth corporation with more money than I can imagine. Why don't you throw some of that weight and money around and take a stand against these bullshit laws? Fight the lawsuits in court to establsh a set of sane legal precidents, and promote a new "common-carrier printer status" law.

    Not only because it's the right thing to do, but because by being sissies, you're undercutting your future sales.

  • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:26PM (#12844350)
    My sister ran into a similar problem getting reproductions of old photos of us as kids.

    You go to a professional photographer, and the studio claims to own the copyright, cause you just paid them to shoot the photos (a service) -- prints are extra and they still own the image.

    Now, if you're a photographer working at the studio, you shoot the photos, but the studio owns the copyright, cause it's "work-for-hire".

    Seems to me a contradiction, unless you realize that the actual rule is "It's always owned by the Man." Then it all makes sense.

    To add insult to injury, some of the studios that shot the old photos don't even exist anymore to provide prints or permission.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:35PM (#12844486) Homepage
    I know this is not exactly on topic, but I have attended events where cameras were permitted but not "professional" cameras. I've got an Olympus C-730. Not a "cheap" camera, but not what I'd call professional either. In any case, I have had to talk people into allowing me to bring my camera. Ridiculous.

    Okay, so technology in the hands of the average/casual user is getting better and better. The results from these devices are better and better. That's what people want. Now we can't use them for fear of being sued? It's getting ridiculous.

    I haven't run into that problem yet but then again, I don't see the point in getting pictures printed anyway... and if I did, it would give me the perfect reason to go out and buy me that awesome dyesub printer or really nice color laser printer. (Inkjet just sucks and as often as I print color things, I'm lucky to get a few pages printed before the ink goes bad.)

    I recall a run-in I had with a wedding photographer... he did everything he could to get in my way. Those attitudes are definitely out of control as well. It was good to read that these professionals are gradually shifting to getting paid by the time spent taking the pictures rather than by the print.

    And finally, this "PPA" group? I think they need an extra "A" in there to be the PPAA. Then it'd fit in nicely with all the other **AA groups that we can collectively hate for stifling our freedoms.
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:36PM (#12844499) Homepage
    I'm in the Bay Area, too. We got married in Livermore and ended up hiring a photographer from Sonoma.

    Anyhow, I wouldn't be happy with anything short of owning full rights to all photos, negatives and prints. If you don't get that in writing, you're leaving open the possibility of getting screwed.

    Our photographer had to ask *us* for permission to use shots from our wedding in her portfolio.

  • by urlgrey ( 798089 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:40PM (#12844554) Homepage
    No, really, I'm not joking.

    All this can be avoided with these three sentences:

    By using our processing service, you agree that all photographs are images being processed and/or printed are your own or that you have all legal rights to process and/or print the images.

    If you are not certain you do, you may be held legally liable for fines up to $100,000 for copyright infringement.

    By using our services you agree to be bound by these terms and to assume all risk.

    DONE! That's it. DONE. But instead bureaucracy gets in the way of good judgement. Again.
  • first had experience (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alex_guy_CA ( 748887 ) <alex@schoenfeld[ ]om ['t.c' in gap]> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:43PM (#12844608) Homepage
    As a photographer with a digital work flow, I have to deal with this all of the time. I send all of my wedding clients a proof CD with screen resolution images. The cd even has a copyright notice, and the contract has my ownership of the images in the terms and conditions, and I still get upset clients calling and saying "I took the images (again, these are the screen resolution proofs) you sent me to the lab and the prints look horrible, wah wah wah."

    I have flirted with watermarking the images with a copyright notice, but I think it looks bad.

    I've kind of just come to expect this as a part of doing business, with the resigned idea that people who want quality will pay for the quality prints from me, but I can't say I'm happy with that as a solution.

    I'd love to hear what others are doing if your out there.

  • by BrianJacksonPhoto ( 825904 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:43PM (#12844609) Homepage
    I'm glad that the big box store photo labs question certain photos.

    A while back, I needed some quick proofs of a portrait shoot I had done for a client. Went to the local Walgreens for the 1 hour prints. They said "these look professional, we can't print them". I said "Thank you, they are". Then handed them by business card, business license and sales tax resellers permit. No problems, they know me now.

    I often use Costco for quick 12x18 and 11x14 display prints for events we're about to do with []. They're cheaper than my pro lab, faster and the quality is pretty good, not as good, but good enough. They did question me at first, but I showed them the docs and luckily I have a business account there as well.

    As far as wedding photographers giving up copyrights... You're way off base here. If I'm doing an editorial shoot and the client wants copyright transfer, they're paying 10X my normal price.

    Protecting copyright is not "old-school" thinking. We live in an IP intense age. The US doesn't produce widgets anymore, it's all intellectual property. There's nothing wrong with protecting your rights, in fact you're a moron NOT to. Apply the same logic to programming and see if you have the same response.

    You can still get the "digital negatives" from a shoot. The photographer can license you the right to make prints from those images. You cannot sell them, you cannot publish them, but you can make as many prints as you would like. What's wrong with that?

    Going back to the programming example. Say I need you to write an accounting app. You're an independent(not my employee). You write the code, I pay you $XXX. Do I have the right to turn around and claim that it's mine? Depends on the contract. By default, you own the rights to everything you produce unless you explicitly grant those rights to someone or you're an employee. Same thing with photography. It's all about the rights :)
  • by csimpkin ( 808625 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:44PM (#12844640)
    I had the same experience. I started by going to the "best" wedding photographer in town. He maintained full ownership of the photos and no one else could take pictures. I told my wife, "I don't think so."

    I found another photographer that only charged 50 dollars extra for me to keep complete rights to the photos if I didn't buy one of his wedding packages and anybody could take pictures. If I bought one of his wedding packages then the rights were included.

    One of the best things that we did is put little disposable cameras on the tables at the reception. We collected them at the end of the night and had them developed. There were some great shots (and a few disturbing ones) on the disposables that the pro missed.

    One thing that I worry about with a pro that keeps the rights is they may only give you the photos that they liked. If any were really bad you will never see them. We had a few photos that were not very good, but captured a particularly important event.

  • Re:Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:46PM (#12844660) Homepage Journal
    The photographer doesn't want the copyrights per se. He just wants to be the guy to print them, and charge for the printing. He makes money, and he (or she, of course) guarantees that the prints are to his specifications. He'd hate to have his rep ruined by a bad print job.

    There really is a difference in quality between a pro photographer and the neighbor kid with a camera. Maybe the kid's a photo nut who knows the right lenses to use, the right lighting (especially for formals rather than candids), how to compose a nice shot, and will otherwise be professional (getting the pictures on time, being nice to the guests, etc.). Or maybe not.

    So feel free to start up your non-copyrighted photo business. There are plenty out there already. But I expect that they're a little more expensive than the photographers who retain the copyrights, because they don't expect to make their profit on the prints.

    Or maybe they're just a dying breed. What I said notwithstanding, you really can take good photos these days with a consumer camera and a tiny bit of artistic sense. Pro wedding photographers may simply be a dying breed.
  • by apathyruiner ( 222745 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:47PM (#12844685)
    We have plenty of pro photographers use our services for both proofs and a few for their final products. Others just get us to make a CD from their film. We also have a number of amateurs that use us. (and for those of you snickering at the idea of pros using Wally World, we have Fuji Frontiers, look them up, and I at least know how to use it)
    All I have to do to determine the authenticity is have a look at their source. After a little practice you can determine most scanned images from an original digital file. There's also EXIF in the originals. Most pros and amateurs just bring in their CF card and most of the happy snappy crowd doesn't know how to use a card reader. And if you are a pro and give your customers non-watermarked hi-res CDs I take that to mean you give them full release. Many photographers do just that.

    Sorry for the rather disjointed comment, I'm home on lunch and time is limited! ;)

    If you're in Taylors SC and need inexpensive quality prints, just come see William. :)
  • It's your choice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shadowell ( 108926 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:52PM (#12844772)
    Being a serious ameture/semi professional photographer and photography student, I tend to be above average on the picture taking side. Of the many Walmarts within a short drive of my location, there is one that generally refused to release my work to me, even when provided with a copyright release for printing. Simple solution, I don't go there anymore.

    Why would a person want to print at Walmart? Simple, convienient, quick turnaround on the cheap.

    There are many times that I've done an assignment where I need to provide 4x6 prints for review in class, and Walmart is good enough for that usually. If I need quality, I go elsewhere.

    Simply buying a photo printer is not always good enough. Yes, they are incredible compared to what could be done just a few years ago, but they still lack the perminance that a lab print has.

    And yes, there are many photographers that will not release the negatives or copyright to a client, which is done simply to try to get more money from the shoot at a later date.

    Copyright law gives copyright to the photographer automatically unless there is a contract making it a work for hire, or stating otherwise. I do not see a problem with that, as the photographer IS the artist that is producing the work. If I have a client that wants the negatives, I allow that, but I charge for it. When it comes to wedding work, my most common contract allows the client to reproduce the work, be it at Walmart or where ever, and comes with a copyright release to that effect. I however still retain copyright and just grant use to the client. There's nothing wrong with that, allows them to make copies whereever they want, if they want, but still allows me to use the work for my portfolio, etc. And yes, I charge more for that than I would if I retain all copyright rights.

    The funny thing, is that most of them still come back to me for reprints. Mainly because the quality I can give them is beyond when Walmart can produce. Yes, if they really wanted to they could do their homework and have them printed at the same pro-lab I use, and get the same results I would give them. But they usually don't do that.

    Traditionally photographers for weddings have retained all copyright, requiring the client to come back to them for reprints. That is a business model that is dying, but still very much alive. If you don't like it, go to a photographer that gives you the option. There is NOTHING that requires you to use a photographer that won't release copyright in any way. It's your choice.

    But don't bitch if a photographer that will release copyright wants more money than the one that won't, that's the whole reason they charge less, they expect to make more money later off the client.

    As to getting Walmart to print an individuals good quality work, be it ameteur or professional, either have a copyright release handy (you can snag 'em from that newfangled thing called the internet for nothing after all), or DON'T GO TO WALMART. One of the reasones the small photo shop is going under is because of places like Walmart. If you want to be treated nicely, try a smaller shop, you might be suprised that they actually listen to you when you say it's your shot...
  • by blurfus ( 606535 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:54PM (#12844796) Journal
    That may be so (the way I explained it in my brief post)

    However, the principle is there. Photographers are no more the 'creators' of the products than NBC airing a game on their network. NBC *purchases* the rights to broadcast the game (and make money by selling ads). NBC owns the rights to their broadcast (because they paid for it) but does not own the game itself (the product). The league owns the products.

    I figured is about the same here. I own everything I create (including my wedding, which I pay for and participate it, and create). The photographer does not 'own' the broadcast of this product (because he has not paid for its rights). I am paying him to document it, but it's not his creation.

    A developer gets hired to do a piece of code. Most of the companies have a 'contract' indicating everything I create while under their salary belongs to them. I sign the contract, I get paid, they get to 'own' everything they contracted me to create for them. This is not to say I cannot use my professional experience while with them and use it to my advantage to find another contract, but I cannot take the product itself. That belongs to the client who paid for it.

    Maybe you can clarify where my logic fails (and maybe I will understand the laws better)

  • by dbmasters ( 796248 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:07PM (#12844991) Homepage
    My wife is taking photography classes, and she is quite good at it. As part of an assignment she took pictures of my sister and her fiance' as "engagement pictures". My sister took them to Walmart to have a few dups made to send out to family to announce the wedding. The clerk said they couldn't do it without the photographers permission, so my wife had to go in with her... I understand personally. Professionals don't allow dups unless they do it and over charge you to do it. That's how they make their living. But, it isn't judged by being "too good" of a pic, it's often judged by if there is a professional backdrop, professional props in the pic or such things that are considered a giveaway that the pic was done in a studio... Or, that's what I got out of the experience.
  • Re:Dear Wal*Mart (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:07PM (#12845001)
    Dear Everybody -

    We did some cost benefit analysis and decided that the amount of money that we would have to spend on lobbyists, attorneys, and blowjobs for politicians is more than the amount of business that we lose because of these unfortunate restrictions. Keep in mind that our core customer base are white trash in the sticks, people that do not even know a digital camera from a digital rectal exam. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

  • by anaesthetica ( 596507 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:09PM (#12845030) Homepage Journal
    One guy even wanted to tell us that our relatives wouldn't be allowed to take pictures at our own fucking wedding! I can't imagine how someone would hire this guy; what kind of asshole is actually going to tell their guests they can't take pictures?

    Well, I'm not a professional photographer, but I have been the official wedding photographer twice now for family friends. My experience with "rival" photographers is uniformly negative. Since I myself am an amateur photographer, I don't really have any problem with random people taking their own pictures. But certain family members can really make your job impossible.

    For instance, the first wedding I shot, the groom's step-mother came with a camera of her own, and acted as if she were the wedding photographer. Nevermind that the family had paid for me to shoot all the official photos of the wedding and celebration. She was constantly getting in my shots, getting in between me and bride during procession, etc. Infuriating. When taking group photos, I would give directions (stand closer, turn this way, etc), and she would start giving her own directions. Unbelievable.

    If I were a professional photographer, I would certainly have a clause in my contract saying something very similar. If you hire me to be the photographer for the wedding, make sure that I am the photographer for the wedding. Having to deal with obnoxious relatives on a regular basis would be impossible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:09PM (#12845035)
    My wife and I tried to have professional photos of our daughter printed at a Walgreen's kiosk.

    The kiosk warned us about copyrighted works.
    There was no method to prove we held or take responsibility for the copyright other than just continuing through with the process. We had paid extra money to retain the copyright, so we continued.

    We went back in hour to pick up the photos and they hadn't been printed. They told us it was because we did not own the copyright. We did and we told them so and we left.

    We tried Shutterfly and Ofoto. Unfortunately, at that time they only used glossy finish. The humidity in our area is high enough that the photos stick to the glass of frames.

    We ended up getting a photo printer and printing the things ourselves.
  • by Old Man Kensey ( 5209 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:13PM (#12845095) Homepage
    blurfus wrote:

    I own everything I create (including my wedding, which I pay for and participate it, and create). The photographer does not 'own' the broadcast of this product (because he has not paid for its rights). I am paying him to document it, but it's not his creation.

    It's not his creation, but if you sign a contract that says so, he does in fact own the "broadcast rights".

    In the absence of a contract, the photographer could take pictures of the wedding party as they came into public space outside the church, but could not then make commercial use of those images (without seeking permission to do so). On the other hand, neither can you stop him photographing you, nor stop him from making noncommercial use of the photos. (The rules change a bit for "public figures", who have less control over their images. See "paparazzi".)

    However, once you sign a contract that explicitly gives the photographer exclusive rights to commercially create and sell reproductions of your image as captured by him, your own right to do so is gone forever, unless and until you get him to give you back those rights , unless your locality has an unprecedented law to the contrary. In the US, at least, you do not have a Constitutional right to be protected from your own bad judgement in signing away your commercial rights (there are certain rights that are not legally recognized as subject to contract law, such as the right to the franchise).

    Copyright of a photograph initially vests in the photographer, and has done for years and years and years. Rights to an image of a person initially vest in the person. Before a photo can be commercially copied, both those rights have to align.

  • Re:Watermarking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stonehand ( 71085 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:15PM (#12845131) Homepage
    To a degree, yes (to a degree only; there are a number of ways to remove watermarks in a digital image, unless it's something very obvious such as a huge, clearly legible copyright notice running on the diagonal of the image. You could, for instance, print and re-scan, or convert the image through multiple formats including additional lossy compression, clone areas of the image, or so forth.)

    The bigger problem is that while the existence of a detectable watermark would indicate that somebody probably cares about his copyright, the lack of a detectable watermark does not indicate the reverse.

    Still, it's an annoying policy. If I were going to have pictures printed in a brick-and-mortar joint, it'd be tempting to haul my gear (camera body, multiple lenses, tripod, flashes, etc -- nontrivial stuff, really) and lay it out on the counter if they question whether I might have taken the shots. Then, set up the tripod or alternately the hefty hot-shoe flash and start shooting customers and the store staff. *shrug* It'd probably be a good way to get kicked out of the store, but it might be amusing in the meantime.
  • by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:27PM (#12845307) Homepage Journal
    I did the linked portrait session [] at home with some alien bee [] strobes & a collapsable background.

    I imported them into iPhoto, and used their photo service to order 4x6s, 5x7s, and 8x10s.

    I got a nice email about how it looked like I was reproducing a pro's prints, to which I was amused because I thought they didn't look that amazing but I digress.

    I had to sign a simple release form, fax it in, and I got my prints.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:27PM (#12845311)
    I majored in classical composition in college our thesis was to write an orchestral work. I needed to have several copies made at Kinkos they woudn't do the copies since there was a copyright symbol on my score. Trying to explain to the clerk that it's my music proved pointless, she just looked at me and kept repeating "We can't copy copyrighted stuff."
  • Flip Side (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QMO ( 836285 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:48PM (#12845563) Homepage Journal
    Then again.
    Suppose I take a picture and send it to Wal-Mart (or wherever) to get it developed.
    A few days later I walk in and they have the picture there, but won't give it to me.
    That seems like a HUGE vulnerability to lawsuit there.
    They have MY picture there, and won't give it to me?
    There's got to be some greedy lawyer that could make a bundle from that kind of situation.

    Even suppose that they say that it isn't mine, 'cause they won't sell it to me.
    Then they've made an unauthorized copy of my photo, since I didn't authorize them to make any copies that weren't for me.
  • Re:Sillyness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ZephyrXero ( 750822 ) <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:19PM (#12845937) Homepage Journal
    Actually the current US currency system is pretty stupid. We're making more fake paper money than we have real money (like gold and such) to back it up with. The little fairy tale thing was just me being goofy, but in all honesty the phrase "intellectual property" is pretty oxymoronic...
  • by fish_in_the_c ( 577259 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @05:23PM (#12846689)
    All you open source people out there should be refusing to buy non-"open source" photography. Seriously why would you buy a photograph if the photographer will not sell you the right to reprint it. I don't mean art for your wall, but the fact is as far as I'm concerned if I pay someone to create a 'portrait' of my or take pictures at my wedding that is precisely a 'work for hire' and ___I___ should have the copy write to that work. When I had my wedding done I insisted on it. btw my wife is a professional photographer. You can certainly structure your prices in such a way as to make money from the 1st purchase of photos so you don't NEED to retain the copy write to them. Besides that have you ever tried to get a reprint done of someone's wedding photo on their 20th or 50th wedding anniversary good luck finding the photographer. just my 2 cents.
  • by hacksoncode ( 239847 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @05:27PM (#12846734)
    I think you're missing the point. The resulting photos don't *have* to be as good a professional photos.

    The person taking and editing the photo has to *think* that they are just as good (or close enough that it isn't worth the money to hire the pro). And the vast majority of people are fucking arrogant and have no taste.

    It remains to be seen whether professionals can survive on income only from that tiny minority of people that actually *have* taste.

  • maybe it's Karma? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @05:39PM (#12846851)
    I am one of those "hold outs" who still actively uses the wet darkroom. I shoot large format, sheet film. There's still a lot of us out there, in fact, 4x5 and larger sheet film seems to be undergoing a bit of a revivial, and grows stronger everyday the more people go digital. I suppose that's another subject.

    I use digital too, but my point is I have taken a lot of "attitude" over the past few years from people who have left film and gone totally digital. Talking to some digital photographers is a bit like talking to a convert to a new religion - in thier opinion, everyone should convert over to the "new god" or be left behind.

    As I use both, I really don't care either way what other people use. Does that make me a "photographic agnostic" ? :)

    For what it is worth, it's easier for me to buy parts for my 30 year old enlarger than it is to find memory cards for my 4 year old digital camera. Considering that most photo quality printers grow obsolete within 3-4 years, at least for professional & commercial use (I do desktop publishing too, so experience speaking here), maybe that is why people are having thier images printed instead of doing it themselves - it's cheaper in the long run. Back in the "old days" when somebody bought an enalrger & darkroom equipment, barring accident, fire or negligent use, darkroom gear would last you nearly a lifetime. You could afford top of the line pro gear becasue you could recover your cost over a 10 or even a 20 or 30 year period. With digital, you have to recover your equipment costs in 3-4 years on average.

    So it's cheaper for many people to have prints done somewhere like Wal-Mart. At least, I look long and hard at the cost of operating my 4 HP laserjets (both color & B&W printers), and it's starting to look that way to me some days. Ergo, the problem we see.

    Anyhow, my point is, I think about all those people over the past few years who seem to have enjoyed just a little too much expounding the virtues of digital over film, belittling my use of film, then I read this story.

    Maybe it's a bit of Karma come back to haunt some people for past attitude. At least in my darkroom, I have freedom to do my own thing.

  • Re:Sillyness (Score:2, Interesting)

    by samkass ( 174571 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @05:43PM (#12846887) Homepage Journal
    Then think up a new term than "intellectual property," but the concept is solid. Anything that requires substantial investment to develop and has value to people should have a system whereby that investment can be recouped. While I agree current US law has gone a little too far, saying that "intellectual property" as a general concept is bad isn't helpful. And I don't think it's a coincidence that the countries that allow invention to be rewarded in this manner are the ones that tend to do better.

    As for US currency vs. gold... what's so special about gold? It's just another method of allocating and accounting for allotments of a percentage of a total valuation. We have computers for that now. Attaching it to the rarity of an abritrary element instead of its value as judged by the world market seems stupid, to me. If gold is sufficiently useful/shiny, pay money for it, but don't link its price to currencies.
  • by JetTredmont ( 886910 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:45PM (#12848193) Homepage
    In other words, instead of being up front and explaining why you cost x amount, and why you are worth it, to the happy couple, you low-ball them and hold their wedding photos as ransom to get the full amount you believe you are entitled. Obviously, after the wedding's done they aren't going to say, "no, sorry, we don't want any pictures" ...

    Life is so much simpler when people deal up-front. You know you need $5000 for the wedding for it to make sense. Tell them that up front. Yes, say if they don't like you pictures, etc, etc, they don't have to buy them and they'll end up paying less. But $5000 is your cost. Period. If they want to cost-compare make sure they include all the prints and rights you are including (which should be everything, 'cause you just want to get $5000 out of the deal), and, more importantly, understand the benefits of not having to run crying to you to get another copy of their wedding photo so they can hang it in the vet's center fifty years from now.

    Also, the "if you want to only do weddings, nothing else" thing: yeah, and if I wanted to earn a living playing Santa Clause at the local mall I'd need to get paid $1000 per hour too! But, unfortunately, that just doesn't happen. Find something profitable to do in those other six months of the year, or don't complain that you make half the wage to which you feel you are entitled.

  • by Gori ( 526248 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @02:21AM (#12849600) Homepage
    Ok, here is what we fixed for our wedding.

    Go talk to the local nature preservation society. There is usually a swarm of very good amateur photographers ( some migt not be so amateur actually) that shoot for their publications. They are often great & relaxed people. More often than not you might find that next to photographing wildlife and plants, they are more than happy to make a wedding shoot too. And they will be a lot cheaper, since they only tend to use the proceedings to buy even fancier cameras!

    Ours didnt even blink when he said that of course we get all our negatives, after all, it is our wedding !

    Plus, since we had our photo shoot in a beutiful nature area, the photos turned our relaxed, not too posed and lots of fun. ( he basically treated us like some rare species in the wild, walking through the forest). And for the geek factor, the photographer works full time in a IT firm, so we had some fun geeking away during the preparations. Just ask them about their newest camera... We had a whole bunch of digital photos thrown in for free, 'cose he was testing his lates and greatest toy.

    Have fun on your wedding !
  • by tcgroat ( 666085 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @03:09AM (#12849730)
    Our photographer had to ask *us* for permission to use shots from our wedding in her portfolio.

    You found a genuine professional to shoot your wedding! Asking before using your photos in the portfolio shows she honors her responsibilities, too. Without model releases, you don't use private photos for advertising or other commercial purposes. Owning the copyright isn't enough; you need releases too (with some exceptions for photos made in public places, of public figures, concerning matters of public interest, etc.).

    Ownership of the images is part of your contract with the photographer. The time to negotiate this is before signing the agreement and paying the deposit, not after the job is done. If you want to own the images the contract should state they will be "work for hire"; otherwise the photographer (as author) owns them by default. Expect to pay more for ownership, because you're asking the photographer to forego future revenue.

    A work-for-hire contract protects you against the studio going out of business. That's a real concern with the long copyright periods we have today: I have pictures of long-dead relatives, taken by dead photographers, who worked for studios that failed before I was born. The copyrights on these photos have not expired, so no reputable lab will make copies.

    If you own the copyright, mark the originals "(c) [year] [your_name]". Better yet, have the work-for-hire photographer apply your copyright notice to the originals, leaving no doubt she was aware of the work-for-hire arrangement.

    IANAL. If you're going to court over photos (or anything else), hire one!

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