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Working with you and for you to make your memories last forever.

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Talking to clients about copyright laws

This is a continuation from last weeks blog.

As I explained I had a situation where my client was under the misconception of ownership of work, once that work was ditributed online. So, what did I do to correct this belief and still retain the client as a happy and fulfilled individual?

First off, it's all about profesionalism. There is no point in getting angry or feeling hurt if a client uses or wants to use a photo of yours in a manner that you have not given permission. In fact, the opposite should be true most of the time. In my case I was very excited and happy that my client felt my work worthy enough to be used in a capacity that was much larger than I had anticipated, and I stated that in the opening paragraph of my email. What we as photographers want to do is educate our clients on the new copyright laws, not alienate them from using our services. This can lead to them trying to seek out another photographer who may not be as professional as us, which doesn't help anybody.

What transpired was a very matter of  fact approach via email as to when, how, and what laws changed with the copyright regulations. Right from the beginning we (the client and myself) had an agreement that the work that I provided to them could be used for any use for a specific period of time. In this case it was one month. I pointed out, after explaining what had changed with copyrights, that this one month period period of time was drawing to an end and I would be more than willing to negotiate any further uses. Below find an excerpt from the email I sent to the client, I believe it sums up why this education is so very important. Names have been removed for privacy.

"I wanted to put that out there for two reasons. One it protects my work from being used in a way that I might not approve of. Second it protects --------. If sometime down the road the photos surface with or for some ill intent, similar to the -------- current slander campaign against ---------, I have the ability to put a stop to it because I retain copyright ownership."

That is the crux of the issue. This new regulation protects your work from surfacing in a way that you do not want, and if it is found, you have a legal way of stopping it. Prior to November 2012 you would have a large fight on your hands, but now you have the ability to control how, where, and who uses that you created and worked so hard to achieve.

Now back to the client feelings. I believe that because of the professional way I conducted myself they did learn what copyright meant in today's photography world. They were not angry or upset, did not feel slighted or misused, and I felt that they had more respect for me and my profession. I went on to shoot this client a number of more times over the week and am sure that I will be the first person they call for any of their further photography needs.

In closing for the week I want to stress DON'T LET PEOPLE TAKE YOUR WORK, and be flattered when others want to use it. Be open and professional about what you need or want for your service and never ever settle for less than what you believe. We are artists. We work hard to achieve what we produce. Our work is a representation of who we are. We wouldn't sell ourselves out, so why shouldn't we treat our work with the same respect?

Friday, 17 May 2013

Canadian Copyright: What's Yours, and What's Theirs?

As I've mentioned, I've been photographing one of our local provincial party candidates for the past couple of weeks. It's been a wonderful experience, and I've enjoyed helping out in whatever way I can.

However, earlier this week it was suggested that once the photos I took for the party went public I would no longer own the rights to them. This didn't sound right to me, and I dove into research regarding the new copyright laws in Canada – and I found both very helpful, interesting information and a whole lot of misinformation.

Let me start by saying every photographer, both amateur and professional, should spend a little time looking into this subject for themselves. I'm going to explain Canadian laws as I understand them, and feel free to comment below if you have more information or supporting sources. Most people in Canada are aware that laws surrounding downloading copyrighted material changed significantly on November 7 of last year, but most people are not aware of is this included the works of a photographers as well.

Before these changes, if a photographer was commissioned to do a shoot and wanted to use the photos for anything (advertising, selling the prints, etc.), they would have to receive a release from the client. Once a contract was entered into, they no longer had any rights to that work except with the client's permission. Many photographers worked around this by providing a release right up front and would not agree to the contract if there was no release provided.

After these changes, if a photographer is commissioned to do a shoot, they have to provide a release to the client to allow them to use that work for a profit basis. The client can use the photos I give them for any personal use, as long as it isn't for profit or gain. This is the law that's in effect right now.

This means that I retain copyright on any and every photo I shoot for 50 years after my death, unless I expressly sign that away. Wow – what a switch, right? In fact, Canada is just playing catch-up to most of the world. Other kinds of artists—painters, sculptors, and artists in general—in Canada have enjoyed this protection for years except photographers.

You still need a release form signed by a model or subject, human or otherwise, if you are using that photograph in an advertisement. However, if you are using it for art, editorial, or or personal use you do not require a model release in Canada.

I hope that makes things a little more clear, but if not, here is a link to an article that is far more in depth:

Take the time to read it over. Be informed, and inform others who may not have this information. If nothing else, it will  help the public understand the rights of artists everywhere in Canada.

Oh – and by the way, the political party did not fire me for pointing out the error, and I continued to shoot right up till their loss.

But that's another blog. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Week Three

Well, another week soon closes. Things have been hectic as usual!

I've had two more All Candidate Meetings covering Gwen O'Mahony. By far the most enjoyable was going out to one of my local elementary schools where Gwen was addressing a grade 4/5 class regarding the NDP platform. This was a great group of kids, who asked some of the best questions I've heard since starting to shoot for Gwen. 

I posted a few more photos on my Facebook page, so swing by check them out and leave some comments. All the photos in the fine art album are available for sale in high resolution, and pricing is relative to size, medium, and quantity. Contact me for a quote if you're interested and I'm sure we can work something out.

This past week has also seen a number of my shots of Gwen being developed into NDP campaign photos, which is hugely exciting. These are also on my Facebook page, if you're interested in taking a gander.

If you are in need of advertising photos drop me a line and we can work together to see your product out there in the best possible light.

Anyway  things to do, places to be. I look forward to hearing your comments below. If you have any questions give me a shout and I will do my best to answer.

As always, you can find up-to-the-minute updates on FacebookTwitter, and now Pintrest!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Finishing out Week One

Here I sit, looking back on the last week – and what a week it's been.

Before Monday, I had not even considered putting together a blog, but on my son's recommendation, I made the leap.

Today I thought I could share the links to my Facebook and my Twitter and I invite you to travel over to see my work and follow my regular activities.

I'm going to do my best to blog at least a weekly overview, both successes and failures, just to keep things real and interesting.

In other news, I have been super busy this last week shooting my local MLA Gwen O'Mahony as  BC heads into a provincal election. I am Gwen's campaign photographer, and get to follow her around to all sorts of events and day-to-day activities. Man, does that woman put in a lot of hours! Go Gwen!

Below is a poster that her team has created from one of my photos.

Very excited to be part of this and wish Gwen all the luck in securing her position as our voice in Victoria.

Aside from the schedule of shooting and publishing the material for very short deadlines, I have been busy developing my social media presence, including Facebook and Twitter pages. I'll be working on a website soon, so say tuned for that as well!