Money

July 21st, 2014

Photographers aren’t alone in struggling to make it today. Here’s an op-ed from the NYTimes about writers and money.

Talking about money is a good thing and the more open people can be about it, the less (I think) the cheap bastards who take advantage of silence will push you around.

Go if you can!

July 21st, 2014

The California Lawyers for the Arts are talking Photography and the Law in Los Angeles THIS WEDNESDAY. Go if you can!

 

Community Property

July 21st, 2014

For those creative professionals who live in community property states, you need to pay special attention to your copyrights. Sure, we all want to believe that our marriages will last forever and that we’ll never have to face issues of division of property in divorce, but it would be foolhardy at best to ignore that very real possibility.

Now, this is a very complex issue, but roughly speaking in community property states any assets acquired or created during a marriage are co-owned by the spouses. There are exceptions (like in California inherited property is separate) but generally speaking, if it is an asset, it belongs to you both equally. This is a state law thing and there is some variation from state to state.

Copyright is a federal law thing, but there are parts of that law that rub up against the state laws regarding community property. This makes divorce lawyers happy for their increased fees and creative professionals sad for having to deal with the mess. Basically, and again this is a big generalization because this is a blog and not legal advice, in most community property states your partner will have at the very least a 50% interest in any value of your copyrights even though they may not actually be technical co-owners of the copyrights.

Yeah, I said this was complex. I warned you. But I’ll save you a lot of the gory legal mumbo-jumbo details. The short version is that in most states the ownership of the copyrights will stay with you but the value will be split. California is a possible exception to that rule as the leading case in this area said the copyrights themselves were community property and thus owned by both spouses so when the now-divorced spouse (author) sued a third party for copyright infringement the ex-wife gets a share of the damages (fwiw, I don’t think that was right since the federal statute should have negated that, but I’m not the court).

Anyway in California or otherwise, functionally this shared interest in the value means that if you ever split up, your soon-to-be-ex has a claim to a value equal to 50% of the total value of your copyrights created during the marriage. S/He may even have a right to future royalties if the underlying work was created during the marriage. Think about how much work you create… now think about the value of that work. Worse yet, think about the cost of getting that work valued–the expert and legal fees involved will be large. Ouch.

So, these are issues you should settle before they become issues. You can get an agreement (like a pre-nup, for example) that contracts around some of this or settles how it will all work just in case you ever do split up (if you do that, I suggest hiring a family law attorney who has solid experience with intellectual property). Yes, it seems not very romantic to think that way on the one hand, but on the other it actually is: you care enough about your future spouse to make sure that if the relationship doesn’t work out, you can split up with less financial and (hopefully) emotional cost to all.

Contact Sheet Montages

July 18th, 2014

This is a very cool idea. The artist deconstructs/reconstructs and the results look sort of like seeing a landmark as a reflection in a skyscraper.

Clients

July 17th, 2014

If you are not already following Clients from Hell, you ought, if only so that you do not feel so alone when one of your clients pulls something like this.

Death of SEO

July 15th, 2014

I’ve been saying it for years, SEO is a waste of your time. Here is more proof.

If you want to get clients, the right clients, then you need to make fantastic work that is your work (not trying to be anyone else) and then do the research to find who might be interested in that and reach out to them. It’s not that complicated but it is work. There are no cheap or fast tricks.

 

Prints

July 14th, 2014

Perhaps in my early dotage I am turning curmudgeonly, but I am really tired of digital everything. In particular, I’m tired of digital photography especially when it is not even printed (and printed well).

There is so much connected to prints and we’re forgetting too much of it. The joy of finding an old snapshot. The smell of a darkroom. The depth of a really great print on amazing paper. Two people leaning their heads in to share the view. Looking at a contact sheet or negs with a loupe.

Without prints we’d never have this.

Or this.

Or the discovery of Vivian Maier.

 

Digital is ephemeral, intangible. But a print, even though it will fade or get water spotted or otherwise damaged, persists. Even when we don’t know the real story, a print tells us a story… usually our own.

How to Shoot a Wedding (not)

July 13th, 2014

I’m going to warn you ahead of time, do not eat or drink while watching this video or you will ruin your computer. It’s hilarious.

About Following This Blog

July 11th, 2014

I really hate the FeedBlitz emails because of the ads (btw, I get nothing… not a penny…from that) but I can’t find anything better. I apologize.

However, there is a better way to follow this blog overall: the rss feed. Point your reader here: feed://www.burnsautoparts.com/blog/feed/

Another Business Line?

July 11th, 2014

Here’s an interesting article in the New York Times about a potential new money-making line for photographers: the professional portrait for use on social media. I rather hate how the NYT writer calls them “glamour shots” though. Ugh. Ick.

I’ve noticed that more and more people, at least men, are using professional photos on dating websites too (yes, I’m a single woman who uses those sites too… don’t judge me…ha!). It can make a big difference in how someone is perceived. If you choose to do that. though, go easy on the post-production. It’s bad enough when they lie about their age…

Anyway, this could be a fun and relatively simple add-on to your services if you are looking for a bump in your bottom-line. Partner up with a great stylist and offer package deals, find some great locations, could be a lucrative line of service.

One thing, though: make sure to use a good model release so that you can use the work at a minimum for your marketing, even if the subject won’t agree to let you license her/his likeness for stock.