Dan Heller Photography: Model Release Primer

This looks like some excellent information about model releases, which will probably come in handy for any of you photographers out there who are planning on shooting portraits for groups such as “100 Strangers” on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/)…

Before we begin, let’s test your basic understanding of when a photo needs to have a model release:

  1. Do I need a release for a photo I took of someone in a public place?
  2. Should I get a release even if the person in the photo is unrecognizable?
  3. Does profiting from the sale of a picture trigger the need for a release?
  4. I’m going to put on a public display. Is a release required?
  5. What if the person is dead?
  6. Do I need a release if the subject is naked?
  7. I have tons of pictures of my ex-girlfriend. Can she sue me if I sold them?
  8. I own a portrait studio. Do I need clients to sign releases?
  9. I took a lot of pictures as a hobby, and now I want to sell them. Do I need releases for all my pictures of people?

To score your knowledge, give yourself one point for each item you answered “Yes,” and two points for each item you answered “No.” In fact, make it three points. Now, total up all your points. If your score is above zero, you have a lot to learn about model releases.

Yes, none of these questions have an answer at all, and no, these were not trick questions. These are the most common questions I get from people just like you. The reason the questions have no answer is because none indicate a use for the image in question. Unless and until there is a specific use for a photo, there is no answer. In fact, it doesn’t even make sense to ask the question in the first place. So, if you have already shot pictures, or you are about to shoot them, and you’re concerned about whether you need a release for the pictures you shoot, the answer starts out no. However, if you plan to license the pictures to someone for publication, then a release may be necessary.

And here is where the wonderful world of Grey opens up to you. Is the image to be used in an advertisement? Or, is the image to be used in conjunction with an article in a magazine or newspaper? Understanding the difference between images used commercially or in editorial contexts is only the beginning. And while many people clearly understand that those differences exist, it’s the over-simplification of them that gives a false perception on what you actually need to do. There is a tizzy of what-if’s and exceptions that go to the very core of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. And once you go there, Whoa Nelly! You’re in for some serious, eye-glazingly boring, sleepy time.

To save you from that, I’m going to try to characterize this stuff in ways that are fun, simple, and will make you a millionaire.

Ok, maybe not. But it’ll be easier to understand. The reason why any of this is discussed to the degree that it is, is rooted in one of the most perpetuated fears about photography: that the photographer can get sued unless he gets a signed model release from the people (or properties) he photographs. The source of this anxiety is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the law: they think photographer’s are the ones who are responsible because they take the photo and sell it to someone. But that’s actually not where the real concern is. To address that, let’s ask the most basic question, “who is ultimately responsible for a photo being released?”

(continued via Dan Heller Photography – Model Release Primer)

Photojojo: DIY Flash Diffuser

I posted a related link back in March (Pop-up Flash), but I just recently tried it out and found it to be so useful that it was worth reposting:

DSC_7795

Harsh, unflattering flash got you down? Grab an old roll of film and make it all better.

Follow Flickr user natuurplaat’s lead, and turn an old film canister into a flash diffuser! A few strategic cuts make it easy to slip the canister onto your pop-up flash, and voila! Soft, beautiful lighting.

Keep reading and we’ll show you how to make your very own little piece of genius.

(continued via Photojojo: Film Canister Flash Diffuser)

dPS: How To Remove Dust Spots From Multiple Photos in 4 Steps

Another excellent article from digital Photography School, about how to remove dust spots from your photos. I’m going to need to try this out on my own photos, especially after that full day of shooting with a dirty sensor (see the before/after examples here: https://blog.wolffmyren.com/2008/07/07/before-cleaning/ and here: https://blog.wolffmyren.com/2008/07/07/after-cleaning/)

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Dust. The eternal enemy of a digital camera. When you shoot pictures with a digital SLR camera long enough, you will come to know the pain that dust can cause. For some it’s a minor annoyance. For others, it costs time and money attempting to salvage vital images.

In this post Peter Carey shares some tips on how to remove dust spots from multiple photos.

With advancements in DLSRs has also come advancements in Photoshop tools to remove dust. My favorite for dust removal, partially because of its price, is Photoshop Lightroom. While it is a scaled down version of the full blown Photoshop, it is perfectly suited to remove 90% of the dust I encounter.

Why is dust such a problem? Take a look at the picture on the left. Do you notice the small black spots in the sky and one big spot on the left side in the mountain? Those are not UFOs and that is not a mining tunnel. It was dust adhered to the sensor, casting a black shadow on the sensor when the shutter was activated. You can’t get back the data that is covered over by the shadow, but you can get creative and repair the damage depending on the dust location. When those dust spots are in the same location on each image, you’re in luck as there is a fairly easy method for multiple photo dust spot removal. (Note: the instructions are given using a PC version of Lightroom 1.4. Mac instructions vary only slightly if using a single button mouse)

(continue reading via: How To Remove Dust Spots From Multiple Photos in 4 Steps)

My Archival Workflow…

In regard to the last post, “dPS: 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos“, I thought it would be good to share the workflow that has served me well for the past couple of years:

  1. Copy/move from CompactFlash

    The first step is pretty obvious, get your photos off the card! (Generally, I move them off the card at this point, but if I don’t have any available media for step 2, or the pictures are incredibly important, I’ll leave the originals on the card and switch to my backup card.)

  2. Backup to CD/DVD

    Now it’s time to backup to the first type of archival media – I use two 2gb CompactFlash cards, which lends well to being backed up on DVD if they’re both full (since a DVD typically holds 4.7gb of data on a single layer). If I haven’t taken a full 4gb of photos in a day, I’ll either wait until I have 4gb of photos to back up, or just back up to a CD.

  3. Copy to small external HD (120gb)

    First step in the department of redundancy department, use SyncToy to synchronize my recent photos to my external hard drive. I use SyncToy instead of merely copying the files because this ensures that any straggling data gets copied over to the external HD, and because it just makes the process simpler. No half-completed file transfers I have to dig through to figure out what did and didn’t get transferred – it will give me a report at the end.

    You can find SyncToy for download here: http://www.microsoft.com/prophoto/downloads/synctoybeta.aspx

  4. Copy from small (120gb) to large external HD (750gb)

    Second step in the department of redundancy department, similar to the step above, though this is a longer-term storage, and it only involves files that have already been archived to the 120gb drive, not directly downloaded to my computer from the CompactFlash card. The reason for this is, of course, redundancy and data integrity. Since this transfer happens less often than the transfer to the 120gb from my computer, there’s less likelyhood of data corruption, and I always try to verify (to the best of my ability) the integrity of the data I’m about to transfer to “cold storage”. I haven’t yet filled up this 750gb drive yet, but as soon as it gets close, I’ll look into getting a Drobo: http://www.drobo.com/Products/drobo.html

  5. Review past archived media (CD/DVD)

    Any type of data gets outdated at some point. Luckily, there are some basic photographic standards that have been pretty solid throughout the years (TIFF, JPEG, etc.), but it’s always worthwhile to look at old media, pictures or otherwise, and make sure that both the media is still in good condition and that the media is easily accessible by modern hardware/software.

That’s my process for now, and has worked for me for the past couple of years, as I mentioned above. Unfortunately, it took me some trial and error to find out this approach, and there were some photo casualties along the way. I’m still trying to dig up my old (pre-2003) photos, but multiple location moves and changes of hardware may have lost these older photos for good.

Remember, backup, backup, backup!

dPS: 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos

Another excellent article from the digital Photography School blog about how to properly archive your photos.

The biggest nightmare of every photographer is the thought of catastrophic loss of their photographs. In the days of film, options were limited and often serious photographers would keep their negatives and slides in fire proof safes or bank safe deposit boxes. Even still several great photographers have had their work taken from them due to fire, water damage and even sub-grade storage supplies. Digital photography provides an additional level of complexity to photographers as they look to keep their photographic work safe. Now in addition to fire and water damage there is the risk of file corruption, failed drives and file format obsolescence. With increased risk comes the responsibility to be diligent in heading off such catastrophes with a solid backup plan. Below are 5 steps you can take to minimize risk of losing your digital photos.

1. Immediately back-up your photos to DVD after off loading them to your computer from your compact flash cards

Here is where procrastination can get the better of you. I have known several people who have accidentally deleted files from their compact flash cards before backing their photos up or deleted files from their computer with out having a backup. These days it’s not too hard to find a deal on a 100 disc spool of DVDs. Have one on hand and take the extra 15 minutes to burn a disc.

(continue reading via 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos)

Flickr: Excellent Photo Advice

One of my Flickr friends, Steve-h just sent me a message today recommending that I read the profile of Bachspics, which contains a wealth of advice on taking better pictures and scoring better in Flickr Explore.

Here’s a clip:

TIPS ON TAKING AND PRESENTING BETTER PICTURES

Here are some tips on improving composition, taking better and more interesting pictures I’ve collected. [Feel free to send me a Flicker Message with your suggestions.] I also recommend Geoff Quinn’s “A few lessons learned the hard (and slow) way on Flickr” at: www.flickr.com/people/gcquinn/ You may also be interested in David Brooks’ Photographic Composition Tutorial and blog about photographic composition theory found here: giant-steps-giant-blog.blogspot.com/ You can see 24 articles mostly about nature photography by Darwin Wiggett, here: www.darwinwiggett.com/articles.html Also check out some Photoshop tips and tutorials here www.tommysimms.com/photoshop.html See “Ten Questions To Ask When Taking A Digital Photo” here: digital-photography-school.com/blog/10-questions/

In the examples below you can click on the picture for a larger view.

* NO FORMULAS: To begin with there are no formulas or recipes for great photographs. But there are matters pertaining to beauty and interest such as principles relating to light, harmony, balance, color and emotion and elements of design such as line, form, pattern, shape, texture and color which enter into making a photograph attractive and interesting. Successful photographs are about knowing and applying those principles when appropriate, but also about perception, thought and creativity.

And more:

TOP TEN WAYS TO MAKE “EXPLORE”

Just photograph….
10. …looking down on a buxom woman from above her head; preferably if she has a low-cut top on.
09. …a flower and/or an insect on or near it; or just the insect will do. [Late in September 07 Flicker averaged about 50 flowers in each day’s 500, or 10%; They had 10-15 insects per day.]
08. …a cat, any cat, lots of cats; and once in a while a dog; or a dog, any dog, lots of dogs; and once in a while a cat.
07. …a sunset [Flicker includes anywhere from 25-50 of these per day.]
06. …a young adult leaping through the air, or one eye of a woman (there was a tie here).
05. …a picture of the “the 275th day in the life of…” (Who started that inane fad?); these are often self-portraits (see # 3 below)

Wow. Excellent advice. Thanks again to Steve-h for the suggestion, and Bachspics for the excellent writeup!

By the way, the rest of the writeup is on Bachspics profile page. =)