Month: June 2016

How To Tuesday #31 - Keeping Your Copyright or Cash Out?

June 29, 2016

“Know when to walk away…know when to run…” Don Schlitz, Writer The Gambler, made #1 by Kenny Rogers.

Don was a smart guy. After shopping the song around a few times, he recorded it himself. It never went above #65 on the charts until Kenny Rogers got his pipes (and hair!) on it. Don never walked away, never ran. He knew when to hold ’em. The ultimate gambler, it’s still his song.

In a perfect world I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I like to make my own hours, set my rates, and take comfort in the fact that I am creating images that will last. For me it’s less about what my day rate is or how much gear I have accrued. For me, the most treasured moments from my journey behind the lens always come from the magical manifestation of ideas into the world. I love getting in a client’s head and figuring out their visual dilemma. Whether it is an advertising firm photographing bankers or an artist debating how high to hang a 12 foot canvas fish over a rotting pier. These are the moments I love like a mad scientist erecting the lightning rod.

Photography: The Magical Manifestation

I see myself as a tinkerer of the abstract visual map in a person’s mind – piecing together the ideas and emotions they have to make something tangible and real. Man, I don’t know about you but I want to keep those images forever! So much thought, time, energy and empathy go into this process. It’s brutal and overwhelming yet so rewarding. Even though I am doing a “job” for a client I look at it as an investment in my future: how I get new jobs, how I create new relationships, and how I value the images in my archive.  But at the same time, I have to understand that a client who is paying their hard earned budget for these images sometimes need to have the comfort of unrestricted use.

The reasons behind this digression to the abstract has a lot to do with how more and more clients are approaching the Image Rights and Copyright line item in recent proposals. Not since around 2012 has this discussion come up so frequently. In my 12 years of working as a professional photographer and working in the realm of contracts, Usage Rights and Work For Hire’s, I have never seen so many clients want “The Full Buyout” so much as in the last few years. I understand the client’s need and it is warranted, so what does a photographer do?

In the terms of this discussion, The Full Buyout means that the client assumes all Copyright of the images shot and edited on a photo shoot and you then hand over (usually in a dual signed agreement) your rights to the images. This means without a special written line in your agreement, you can’t use any of these images anymore. 

So, what does a photographer do?

As much as I am hesitant to hand over my Copyright of my images, I have to weigh the possible future resale of those images versus the buyout. I have to ask myself: Do I think these images will have a resale value to me in other markets? In the editorial world this is common if I were to photograph a musician and later on another magazine calls wanting to know if I had any existing stock of said musician. If I still owned the copyright, then I am free to negotiate. 

If there is a person in the shot, would a simple Talent Release allow me to then market the images for commercial use on stock sites or local jobs? These things must be considered before you consider a full buyout. Remember the joy of the magical manifestation of the visual problem? Is the answer worth the cash or the copyright?

The Power of Being at the Edge: Images and Words from the Ocean

June 26, 2016

Walk to the Edge of Yourself

Close Your Eyes and Listen. Really Listen.

Relentless tugging layers of sand tumbling shells, wind hitting your body

Each wave speaks a new language that feels familiar

Until the waves and the body of water and you are One.

Reflect on the sound of what has come before you and what will continue to exist long after you. It is a pleasing sound that tells you to Go. Be.

How To Tuesday #30 -Location Scouting Head Shots 101!

June 21, 2016

Location Scouting for the Perfect Headshot. You Should Lose Some Sleep Over It!

I think photographing the perfect head shot should be an intense job. You should lose sleep over the head shot, you should adequately scout locations even for the simplest portrait. It’s always the unassuming jobs that have the most hidden outcomes. I have never taken a head shot job for granted even when the deliverable is your standard 85mm/100mm tightly cropped vertical oriented composition of a content business-like head. (and inhale!)

Head shots take an even more studious approach to fully understanding every detail about your backgrounds, lighting schemes, and especially your subject! In scouting locations for head shots I always include one or two “scenes” we can shoot some head shots with simple backgrounds using natural light. This way you can get your subject comfortable and establish a rapport before you pull out the 60″ Octabanks, hair lights, and start popping off strobes. This way you can get to know your subject in these early moments especially if it’s the first time you have met. What you will find out is that this person is more than just a “tightly cropped head shot” and is a dynamic and probably interesting person!

Great environmental portrait photography means getting there early!

I then like to then find a more “environmental” scene that can tell the story of my subject a little better than just a plain background. Getting to scout your location before hand at around the same time as you’ll do your shoot will give you a much better idea how your ambient light will play in your outdoors setting, if you choose that. In the end, if you scouted properly, you will be delivering a set of photographs that have multiple ambiance, feeling, and style. Kind of like your subject.

Enjoy these location shots from a scout I did today…in a few weeks I will show you my finished head shots!

How To Tuesday #29 Understanding Shutter Speed: From Cotton Candy to Frozen Droplets!

June 14, 2016

In this week’s How to Tuesday Photography Techniques and Tips, we will splash into a better understanding of the effects of different shutters speeds on moving water. I recently spent a short weekend in the beautiful hills of Brevard, North Carolina shooting a wedding. On my way back I went the long way (duh!) and made a pass through Henderson County to the Dupont State Recreational Forest. There I hiked the .3 miles to Triple Falls Waterfall, one of six beautiful waterfalls on this sprawling nature preserve. What better way to show you the effects of how shutter speed effects a moving object than with a study on a waterfall! 

Recommended Gear for Long Exposure Landscape Photography.

1. A good Tripod with Detachable Plate (read more about these in HTT23)

2. An Intervolometer so you can be “hands free”

3. Notepad or app (Evernote is great for this) for taking notes

4. Circular Polarizers and/or Neutral Density Filters

Faster Shutter Speed – Frozen Motion

Think of a faster shutter speed as you hear a quick click of the shutter….“SNAP”! – Faster shutter speeds, as you know, are all relative…but in this context we we are talking about 1/80th of a second, 1/125, 1/250. After that the water really looks the same – you really do reach diminishing returns on the shutter speed effect after a certain point. 

 1/500 - Fast Shutter Speed Freezes the Action

 1/80 of a second Shutter Speed Freezes the Action but there

Slower Shutter Speed – More Motion

This one is always easy to remember, and I like to think of a slow shutter speed as a making a “mini-movie”. The reels are spinning, and it’s time for nature to act…Lights, Camera, Action! Here is the metadata on some different slow shutter speeds and the effects it has on water. Remember, the camera MUST be stabilized to see the true effects, or your entire image will be shaky. 

 1.6 Seconds gives a great soft water where the movement is greater, at the bottom

 30 seconds is SLOW! You start to notice soft water beds and the cotton candy effect!





36 Hours in North Carolina - My advice? Get Lost To Get Found

June 14, 2016

Yes, I am ready for it all to end. I have been away from home 3 weekends in a row and I have to say I miss my wife, my dog, and our oasis in St. Bernard Parish. It all started with Labor Day Weekend shooting Bayou Country Superfest at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Every year this is the weekend it first starts feeling REALLY HOT. Add in the hot pavement around the stadium, and 12 hour shooting days, then you have a backbreaker of a weekend. (SEE Gallery HERE) To add insult to injury, all the music sounds the same coming out of a different face on the stage. I don’t want to get carried away at what I think about today’s “country” music, but I was more than happy the weekend after that to be playing music in New York. You can read all about that weekend here…

This Saturday and Sunday I was in the small town of Brevard, North Carolina to photograph a friend’s wedding and I took it upon myself to walk around the beautiful campus of The Brevard School of Music Center where the wedding took place. The campus is amazing and straight out of Sleepaway Camp or Friday the 13th without all the murder and sound effects. Replace the macabre with ducks, clear ponds, pristine wooded hills and serenity..and there you have it. On my way back to the airport I decided to wake up early and get lost driving through Henderson County on my way up to The Dupont State Recreation area, Triple Falls waterfall, and the 1945 constructed home of American hero, and poet, Carl Sandburg. Not bad for a few hours on the way home…



Bayou Country Superfest 2016 Gallery

June 14, 2016

Bayou Country Superfest photographs I am super proud of.

Since it’s inception in 2010 I have been the photographer for the Bayou Country Superfest, which is also put on by Festival Productions who puts on Jazz Fest. After “opting out” of Jazz Fest this year, I stayed on as photographer for the Bayou Country Superfest for reasons other than loving the music. The good thing about shooting music in this case is that you (well, I) can detach yourself from the situation and follow the (mostly choreographed) moments and tune out the newest face of country. Each year I do get some images I am proud of. Saddle up podnuh and see what Nashville has to offer this year…

How To Tuesday #28 - What is the Magnetic Lasso tool and how do I use it?

June 8, 2016

In this week’s How To Tuesday Photo Techniques and Tips we’ll learn what the Magnetic Lasso Tool is and how to use it. Enjoy this short video tutorial while you work along side in Photoshop! Don’t forget to sign up for your weekly email of Photo Galleries, Workshops, and Videos!

36 Hours in New York as a Musician and Observer - A Photo Gallery

June 6, 2016

I recently got back from a super quick 36 hour trip to New York. I don’t recommend going anywhere as vivid and lush as New York City for only 36 hours. You spend most of the time in transit or sleeping – but you can only try to make up for it in other ways. The other ways I am talking about was my set of music with long time friend Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers as our duo drum/fiddle “Pilette’s Ghost”. I also walked around ALOT. I enjoyed walking around the West Village and then again in the Lower East Side, as our gig was at famed improvisational composer/musician John Zorn’s club, The Stone. It was good to get some fresh landscapes in front of me, catch up on some reading and hit my favorite spot for the best coffee beans…McNulty’s.

When I arrived in NY I met up with old friends and ate one of the best falafel sandwiches ever at Mamoun’s and I have to thank LJ Goldstein for that suggestion (sorry I didn’t bring one back). The next morning I walked around and photographed the West Village, then met up with the band. Louis rented an AirBnB for their week long residency and it’s front door sat facing the Hell’s Angels Clubhouse on E 3rd Street. As I walked up, six pairs of eyes watched my every move as 6 mouths continued their conversations.

I walked into the apartment and I could already feel the Louisiana camaraderie bubble over as talk of the previous night’s set began. Ryan Brasseaux, Bryan Webre, and Kirkland Middleton II were talking about the music and the moments as we all sat down to rehearse for Saturday’s show.

Later in the day Spider and Louise Stacy met us at the apartment. We packed out instruments and set out to busk in the New York Subway…

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