How Cliche

Posted June 13th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

I’d seen a list of the Top Ten Stock Photography Cliches as assembled by the folks at Forty Media. (They’re a design firm in AZ, and more about them to come in another post.) Then today, I was reading about how cheap and cheesy stock photos seem to pervade the Church Marketing Industry. Did you know there was such an ‘industry’?

The good folks at Church Marketing Sucks were able to draw on many examples, including a new pairing that one commenter actually had a link to an outside Church Marketing Wed Design Template Vendor that actually used one of the exact sample Top 10 cliche images. Too Funny, and talk about how to prove a point.

One of the greatest benefits to using Rights Managed vs. Royalty Free, is the client can always ask about the previous licensing history of an image. With Royalty Free, ya’ take your chances, and know you might get burned. Not a good strategy in my book for companies that consider their public image as an ‘investment’. Read more and see examples on my own Royalty Free page.

Photo: Twisting Road and Mountains

Posted June 13th, 2006 by
Categories: National Parks, Photos, Roads, Travel, Wyoming

Picture: Twisting curves on two lane road below snow covered mountain peaks and storm clouds, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

For those that read the previous post know that this last week ended on a rough note for our family. And in keeping with the theme that we all must face after the death of a loved one, this image reminds me that we all must move on, and move forward.

See more Moving On, Moving forward images in my ROADS gallery.

Photo: Free spirit soaring in the clouds

Posted June 8th, 2006 by
Categories: Fossil Beds

Picture: Seagull flying in front of clearing storm clouds, Sonoma Coast, California

I made my recent anniversary card for my wife out of this image, using the words “Two Wings, One Heart”. It was very personal. But today, I’m posting this image for another very personal reason. I learned that last night, around midnight, my Uncle, Irwin Jay Abrash, passed away at age 77. He had been fighting an illness, and his body just didn’t have any more fight left in him. So today, I’m sad, sorry, and relieved. May his spirit soar with the angels, and forever be free of pain. I  hope and trust my dad was there to meet him. Goodbye, Farewell, I’ll miss you, and I love you. Woof.

Arnold Newman Passes

Posted June 7th, 2006 by
Categories: Newsworthy, Photographers

On of the great portrait photographers of the last century has passed away. Arnold Newman was best known for his revealing glimpses of famous artists and world leaders. A great place to see a portfolio is at the PDN LEGENDS archive. (requires Flash)

Photo: Whats that sound Toto

Posted June 5th, 2006 by
Categories: California, Clouds and Sky, Photos, Weather

Picture: Funnel cloud descending on the rural outskirts of Tracy, Central Valley, California.

I’ve only been lucky enough to photograph one funnel cloud. It occured on a stormy afternoon in NOVEMBER. I had been returning from Yosemite National Park, after spending the whole first half of the day under deep dark rainclouds. You can actually see the storm clouds in the background stacked up against the Sierra. The funnel cloud lasted about 15 minutes, and the photo above shows it’s closest approach to the ground. Had the tip actually touched the ground, then – meteorologically speaking – it would have offically been classified as a tornado. Eventually, I’ll add these and similar images into my Clouds and Skies photo gallery. In the meantime, you can also see a close-up version in my New Images Portfolio.

Now, if you really want to see the KILLER tornado shots, there really is only one world-class, go to specialist, Warren Faidley. He’s the guy every stormchaser envies, having founded the photo agency, Weatherstock.

Say that again

Posted June 5th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

Sometimes I hear or read things that photographers say when discussing the Microstocks that, from my perspective, sound so absurdly insightful in a sad way that all I can do is giggle.

This evening, I read a post about a woman photographer who was concerned because she had noticed the commission on some of her affiliate sales had apparently shrunk from 3 cents down to 2 cents.

OMG! like, fer sure. I’d feel ripped off and pretty concerned too. 323 sales at a penny less is like losing out on a whole gallon of gas.

Photo: Beam of sunlight through Arch

Posted June 3rd, 2006 by
Categories: Deserts, Photos, Sunrise, Travel, Utah

Picture: Beam of sunlight at sunrise passing through South Window Arch and falling exactly over the window of Turret Arch, Windows Section, Arches National Park, near Moab, Uath.


That last post I made was so important for me to write, at the same time so “Ugh” – that I just needed to follow it up with a pretty picture. I hope you like it. A scene like this doesn’t happen everyday, primarly due to solar-planetary alignment fluctuations that occur in regular annual cycles.

How many for how much

Posted June 3rd, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

This week, thanks to the honest reply of a photographer in the microstock agencies, I got my first real life look at some ‘average to better than average” returns, and I must say, the glimpse was quite “enlightening”.

Last month, this photographer made jsut shy of $300 from approx 300 images each on a handful of microagents. Playing the straight numbers game, that’s a dollar an image per month, or $12.00 per image per year. On the surface, that seems like a good return; in fact it’s better than the same traditional calculations from regular agencies a decade ago; before ‘traditional’ RF, and long before Micro RF. But this has always been the crux of the commoditization thought process vs. the fair value based on use sales models. And in fact, if we stop the calculations right there, then it’s easy to see the attraction for photographers to dive right into this market.

But that’s not what opened my eyes and caught my attention. What got me was that to make that $300.00, he had to have his images downloaded approx. 750 times. Now let’s consider each download as a new “Client” – and since clients are rarely likely to buy more than a couple images from any given photographer at a time; that’s almost 750 new Clients he made that month; and combined, those 750 clients paid him $300.00. But that’s still not what gets me….

Read the rest of this post »

Ouch Thats gotta hurt 2

Posted June 2nd, 2006 by
Categories: Copyright, Newsworthy

To be filed under the new and continuing, “Ouch! That’s gotta hurt” series:

Photo District News Senior Editor, David Walker, in this week’s Newswire has spun the sad tale of what happens when a photographer and his lawyer goes after the ‘Big’ prize for the wrong reason. In this case, the prize was a $260,000.00 (USD) Copyright Infringement lawsuit. Unfortunately, the Judge thought the pair was making a frivolous claim against the defendant, and acting in bad faith, namely by refusing to settle the case in a fair, amicable, and reasonable fashion. In the legal system, this is one of the big no-no’s for an attorney, kinda like doctors chasing ambulances. Oh, wait; Lawyers chase ambulances. :)

Anyway; Judge says; Bad Move. Tosses the copyright infringement case out of court in 2002. Fast Forward; Judge now slaps the wrist of the photographer by ordering him to pay the legal bills of the party he had brought the suit against. If one slap = $1.00, imagine getting your wrist slapped slightly more than 388,000 times.

Read David’s excellent article at PDN.

How do you like your photos served

Posted May 31st, 2006 by
Categories: Digital

If you’re like me and many others, you like your photos served up RAW, and the RAW’er the Better’r. The has released the results of their 2006 survey which is also in a PDF file on their web site.

And speaking of RAW, I recently replied to a forum post where someone had asked about the difference between shooting in RAW or JPEG Mode. I replied with the following analogy, which I’m reposting here since there may be some readers who only know that their little Point-n-Shoot camera spits out JPEGs, and are unfamiliar with RAW digital image formats.

Think of your picture as food. If you have the camera set to do all the thinking for you, and you shoot in JPEG, it’s like buying a frozen dinner and popping it into the microwave. Once the oven beeps, you can add a little salt or pepper, but for all intensive purposes you’re pretty much done.

If you shoot in RAW, it’s like going to the grocery store and getting all the ingredients to make the same meal, except now you decide how much of this, how much of that, add more of this, etc.. Then when you’re all done mixing the ingredients (exposure, color balance, saturation, sharpening, etc.) you put it in the oven, and with a quick conversion – viola, out pops your custom adjusted TIFF or JPEG or PSD.

Of course, shooting in RAW means you spend a lot more time in the kitchen. (read: computer.)