Sunday, May 13, 2007

THE RIGHT THING: GETTING THE PICTURE

At a wedding reception in the Midwest, a slide show of the lives of the bride and the groom flashed on a screen, pleasing almost everyone. The one person not so happy was the professional photographer who was there to shoot the couple's wedding day.

"The very first picture to come up on the screen was a collage from my Web site of the couple's engagement pictures," she writes. "I couldn't believe it. I had not been asked for permission to use those images."

As the show ended the photographer watched as a guest placed a framed copy of a picture of the couple -- one of hers, again, scanned by the guest without permission -- onto the gift table, along with a copy of a CD containing the slide show.

The photographer has copyright information on her Web site, along with the statement that images are not intended for download. She even provides a link to the Web site of the United States Copyright Office. (She also links to copyright information on the Professional Photographers of America's website .) Still, she says, it's not uncommon for people to illegally copy her work.

Though incensed, the photographer decided not to do anything about it at the wedding. Why ruin the good will she had built with the wedding couple and their families?

As she was packing up, however, she noticed the photo-stealing guest's boyfriend sitting at the bar in the lobby. On her way out she approached him to ask for the guest's address, planning to contact the woman after the wedding. She figures that the photographs used would have cost about $225.

The boyfriend berated the photographer for making too big a deal, however, and other guests also began to yell at her. She asked how they would feel if someone interfered with the way they made a living, an argument that they refused to consider. She suggested that copying the pictures without permission and giving them as a gift was no different than taking a gift from Target and leaving without paying for it.

"I was the one being stolen from," she says, "yet I was the one being yelled at and I was the one who had to leave."

Obviously, the right thing would have been for the guest to have called to get permission to use the photos. No one should use copyrighted material of any kind without permission of the owner. Had she done so, the photographer says, she likely would have responded -- as she has in the past -- by letting her use the photos on the CD for free and charging her only $25 per print for any photos she wanted.

While the photographer was entirely justified in protecting her copyright, however, she wasn't wise to have approached the boyfriend at the bar. The boyfriend wasn't necessarily involved in the misuse, and the fact that alcohol was part of the mix should have tipped her off that it was not the best time to open this particular issue. The right thing would have been for her either to get the guest's name and address from the bride and groom after the wedding or to have asked the guest herself during the slide show.

As for the friend herself, given that the Web site was clearly marked as copyrighted material, there's only one right thing for her to do: Pay up.

Professional photographers make their livings by selling prints of their photographs and the rights to those shots. Using those photos without permission is wrong. Quality costs money and, with photography as with anything else, you get what you pay for. If professionally taken photographs are too expensive for your budget, that doesn't entitle you to steal them. Instead, turn to friends with good digital cameras and settle for whatever quality they can give you.

18 comments:

Chris said...

I believe a photographer can put pictures of very low resolution on a website so that people can see the shots without the ability to make a good copy. In a perfect world, this would not be necessary...

Anonymous said...

I have chose to combine both dilemmas, because in a lot of ways, they intertwine. The "Getting the Picture" and "Faking Credentials' can be looked at in the same light. Falsely using educational credentials, in essence is no difference, than absconding with the photographic, literary, or the brushstroke and canvas of another. Each in it's own right requires many hours of painstaking work, either with a textbook in an empty library, a camera in a lab, pounding the keys that breathes life in to a story of fiction, or nonfiction, or standing on a hill in eastern Iowa, capturing the beauty of America's heartland. All are a form of theft. Falsely using educational credentials cheapens the diploma of every student who earned the right to call themselves, a graduate of an institution. In both cases, the wedding photographer, and the Human Resource Manager should undertake legal action, against the thief, to underscore the point that fraud and theft shall not be tolerated in an organized society.

Happy Mothers Day! I lost mine, of 52 years, on January 28, 2007.

Todd Brklacich
Utah

Anonymous said...

I’m not sure that the photographer’s righteous indignation is appropriate in this case. Presumably, she makes a livable income from taking pictures of people and events. If someone thinks enough of one of those pictures on a website to make a copy to give to the person who paid for the photo in the first place, I don’t see that as an egregious copyright violation. If they used the picture to promote their own company’s honeymoon cruise or wedding dress sales, yes, that’s bad.

It’s fine for the photographer to supplement her income from some of her best website photos, but how bad is it if the person who hired her receives some “spin-off benefits” from that hiring decision - benefits that didn’t generate income for the friend/copyright violator (who paid for the frame and went to some effort in a loving, if ignorant, manner on behalf of the bride)?

Anonymous said...

Had the photographer waited until after the wedding and given the resulting photographs to the bride and groom, the whole event would never have happened. I would assume that the photographer and the couple signed some kind of agreement as to who owned the copyright of the photographs that were or would be taken. It should have been the responsibility of the couple to make certain the any needed permissions for copying photographs were received before the wedding began.

The guest was incorrect is not asking permission and in taking it upon herself to create something based on another's work; and the photographer was wrong to try to settle the matter by talking with the boyfriend. The resulting argument and shouting match may have done more damage to the photographer's career than any "stealing" of photographs by the wedding guest.

Anonymous said...

I have married off both my daughters and in each case avoided the whopping fees of specialist wedding photographers (whose photos tend to all look alike, in my judgment)and avoided situations like this one. In both cases I hired the photographer of the local newspaper, having seen hundreds of examples of their work. For less than three hundred dollars the photographer came for the wedding and most of the reception, took digital photos while staying out of the way, and then sent me the discs. The photos were ours the moment we received the discs and we could print as many as we liked. The photos were not only beautifully done, but, with the exception of formal photos of the wedding party, were truely candid and creative. What an improvement that was over the photographer who wanted two thousand dollars and insisted on making the wedding album himself!
I agree that this photographer chose the wrong person to complain to and that the guest should not have stolen copyrighted material, but why should a photo of a bride that the bride's family paid for be copyrighted in the first place?

Marvin said...

Some of these comments miss the point. There is no use arguing about whether the photos should have been copyrighted or not. They were. Using them without permission is illegal, period.

A photograph is intellecual property. If you want to use intellectual property or physical property belonging to someone else, you need to ask first. It is only common sense and courtesy to do so. Although courtesy and common sense are often conspicuously lacking in the world of human relationships, they are the principal difference between "true class" and "boorishness".

Anonymous said...

First: Federal law is clear! The maker of an image is granted the official copyright at the moment of creation. PERIOD!

Image usage fees may be negoiated.

Please consider the following article written by myself in an effort to help understand the current circumstances in the Professional Imaging profession.

WHY SELECT A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?

By Robert Hughes

Do you think that anyone who swings a baseball bat should be paid eight (8) million dollars a year? Do you consider anyone who owns a Guitar to be a world-class musician? Do you believe that anyone who drives a car should qualify as a NASCAR driver? Do you think that anyone who owns a Hammer and nails should serve as an Architect and be commissioned to design and construct your next home? Do you think that anyone who sets foot on a Collage Campus should be handed the title of M.F.A., or PHD?

QUESTION:

Why, then, would you ever have confidence in just anyone who owns a Camera?

Trusting just anyone, who owns a Camera, to deliver a “Professional” product is a bit like loading all but one bullet in the chamber of a pistol, giving it a spin and engaging in the deadly game of “Russian Roulette.”

Now, more than ever, the Professional Image specialist has to up the ante in the never-ending quest for Professional excellence. With the advent of all the current and rapidly changing technological options, the Professional Image maker is inundated and continually challenged by methods of Composition, Color Balance, ICC Management, Profiling, Resolution, Printing, Output, Theory, Tonal Range, Archival Properties, Bit Depth, Colorspaces, Upper and Lower Limitations of Media, Delivery Methodology, Correct and Proper Sensor Care, Control Standards, Histograms, Software Proficiency including all forms of Retouching and Monitoring correct Dynamic Ranges.

You can be sure that a Professional Image Maker is extremely interested in elevating the beloved Profession of making Images. I have often said, “I don’t take light lightly.” The Professional spends countless hours honing Theories, Technology and Art. For the first time in the history of our profession, specifics and Ambiguity integrate into one entity. This mindset alone changes the course of professional Imaging. Truly, science meets Art!

THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHERS!

People with Cameras who are not trained or educated about properties of light, can not properly understand and work with light! This may sound redundant, but the ability to recognize and correctly use light is the most important ingredient when creating compelling images!

Amateur Photographers are usually called that for a reason! Many Amateurs actually believe that because they see an image on the back of the Camera they have created a worthwhile image. This is usually not true! Since the image on the LCD back of a Digital Camera contains so much contrast, clients are often shocked to learn that many and sometimes all the images are not in sharp focus. The compositions of these images leave much to be desired.

It takes countless hours of practice to produce proper exposure and sharpness. This is in addition to all the scientific issues which have been mentioned above.

NOTE: There were good reasons that disposable Cameras didn’t last when placed on the guest tables of wedding receptions. The resulting pictures were underexposed, badly composed, over flashed, overexposed, and just plain meaningless. Brides and Grooms soon found that the money spent on disposable Cameras was a waste. Thankfully this idea went away in favor of Professional Imagery which not only showed Who, What, When, Why but with what Feelings and Emotions.

A THOUGHT ABOUT THE “SHOOT AND BURNERS”

There is a group of wannabe Photographers who compete on price. This group will offer to “Shoot pictures and burn them to a disc.”
---------------------------------
NOTE: When a client receives a disc of images on a CD, the copyright DOES NOT transfer to the paying client. The copyright remains with the original maker unless otherwise negotiated.
---------------------------------
The real truth is that they usually do not want any further contact with the client. In most cases they neither have the knowledge, talent or experience to formulate legitimate business strategies.

This quote from Martha Blanchfield in her recent Studio Photography Magazine article, about Claudia Kronenberg, a wedding photographer in Nantucket, sums up the “Shoot and Burn” philosophy. "Having your wedding photographed and just receiving a disk of images is what I equate to receiving the fabric of the wedding dress without the designer to stitch it together," says Kronenberg. "It's what we do with the fabric, or photographs, that make the difference."

The “Shoot and Burners” do not really care about delivering a professionally finished, product as indicated by their philosophy which is shoot and burn. All they want is to be relieved of the responsibility of having to do the hard work which comes after quality images are created. The “Shoot and Burn” strategy does not save money! It catapults the consumer into a world of which they have little knowledge. By the time the victim experiences what is really involved in finishing the job, the “Shoot and Burner” is long gone with the client’s hard-earned money. “Shoot and burn,” is nothing more than an attempt to extract money from an unsuspecting client.

The “Shoot and Burn” strategy is really a statement! “I will do part of the work if you can figure out how to do all the rest.” This approach merely creates countless hours of frustration for the client (victim) who then makes a desperate attempt to obtain a decent finished print. Time and money is spent on, and not limited to, inks, paper, color management, profiles, education, manuals, software, and many more hours of what a true “professional” would have already delivered.

You will live a lifetime with either a Professional quality, meaningful images or you will spend a lifetime desperately trying to like a set of images which could have been professionally created.

The choice is up to you!

Respectfully,

Robert H. Hughes
Master Photographer., MEI., CR., ASP., PPA Certified

www.roberthughes.net

Robert Hughes is the current President of the Professional Photographers of Central Ohio

Anonymous said...

Give me a break! Let's make photography sound like rocket science and brain surgery combined to justify the exorbitant costs - but what else could be expected from someone with so much self interest at stake? I have had "shoot and burn" discs made and found the quality of the photos far preferable to the cookie-cutter Barbie and Ken wedding photos that so many wedding specialist photographers - excuse me - "professional image makers" put out today and showcase in their windows. This argument reminds me of the funeral director I once heard railing against cremation as "uncivilized" when the real objection was, as always, money.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful for posts like the last one. I see it as a real opportunity to help make the public aware of the cost and time involved in producing and delivering professional imaging goods and services.

It is so easy to forget about the expense of Cameras, Lenses, Radio Slaved units, Advertising, Business Cards, Website expense and maintenance, Staff salaries, Updating through paid Seminars, Software, Dues in Professional organizations, Repairs, Printers, Inks, Lighting, and exorbitant amounts of time spent in production, and design.

When one begins to ad up the expense invested in running and maintaining a business, the price of a knowledgeable, and creative commissioned professional begins to seem totally justified.

Thanks for reminding me of my dedication, the expenses and how hard I work!

Robert Hughes

Anonymous said...

Quote:>> Anonymous said... <<

Give me a break! Let's make photography sound like rocket science and brain surgery combined to justify the exorbitant costs

Answer

IF IT SOUNDS LIKE ROCKET SCIENCE AND BRAIN SURGERY COMBINED ... MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE IT IS! IMAGE CREATION AND EFFECTIVE PROCESSING HAS BECOME VERY COMPLEX!

FOR OPENERS, GO PASS THE ADOBE CERTIFIED PHOTOSHOP EXAM AND GET BACK TO US!

Anonymous said...

I know the photographer mentioned in this article and I can say without hesitation that she is one of the most honest, caring, ans sweetest of individuals. She is also forthright and uncompromising when it comes to the issues of photography, especially the issue of copyright. In reading the posted comments there seems to be a consnsus that the situation could have been better handled. Many of us regret what we may say in the heat of the moment but it is difficult to stay quiet when your rights are being violated. I have had many conversations with the photographer mentioned in the article concerning the 'shoot and burn' philosophy held by many good photographers today. I must admit that I am on the fence concerning this. Photographers like Mr. Hughes (who I also know and deeply respect), cater to a very high end clientele. His clients have the money to pay for his services and do not have the time or desire to play with the images he produces. They pay top dollar for a perfect job and are done with it. If they wish to give one of Mr. Hughes photographs as a gift, they pay his price and get the best.
The television says the average cost of a wedding today is $18,0000. Since the photographer produces the only physical lasting memory of the wedding day what reasonable percentage of that $18,000 should be alloted to him? However, there is an opposite end to this spectrum. I am contacted weekly by clients who are getting married on a shoestring. Their budget for the entire wedding is one tenth of that $18,000. The bride's mother makes her dress, the neighbors cater the meal with food from GFS, (can't begin to tell you how sick I am of Swedish meatballs and pigs in a blanket), and the reception is held in the church basement or American Legion hall. These people have the right to quality memories too. Unfortunately, the only reasonable way to provide these memories is to set a price for your service and give them the images on a disk. Do I agree with this? No, I do not! Do I do this? Yes, I do. It is a truism, "you get what you pay for." I do not give these clients the beautiful, custom designed images in the expensive leather albums, there are no gifts for the parents and friends, there are no engagement sessions or specialty photographs. Just reasonably good photography done at a price they can "almost" afford. When I can, I do charge what my services are worth (at least what I think they are worth). When the situation demands it, I will work with a client as best I can.
These comments are far afield from the issue of copyright as described in the article and I apologise for that. I just feel several posts raised more aspects than who owns the images. The copyright question is a simple one. The photographer owns the images. Until photographers take a stand and let it be known they won't tolerate theft by legally pursuing violators people will not stop pirateing their work. Since I have made many controversial statements in this post I prefer to remain anonymous.

Susan Elliott said...

There's a reason why the guest wanted to scan the image in the first place...it was what the bride liked...which is why she booked that particular photographer! If she would have been happy with someone just snapping shots there would have been many other choices for the framed photo that was to be placed at the wedding.

Just because you paid for the service doesnt mean you paid for the product.

My prices are based on my time and expertise. If they are too high for most then that's exactly what I want. With the availability of professional cameras the public, people can certainly shoot there own images or find someone who doesnt try as hard or care as much as I do...and thats what they should do...but if they hire me or someone like me then they should obey the copyright law. I mean, the choice was their's to begin with!

For a particular event, I find that only about 1/10th of my time is spent actually shooting and that with lugging all of my expensive equipment around with me,the rest is spent on detailed artwork that has taken years of training, layout and design,the preparations needed for printing a professional image, and personal appointments with the people who hired me...and thats not to mention the business administration work. That's why professionals guarantee their work and thats why it looks better than snapshots!

By the way, I hate "cookie cutter" anything and with the revolution of this business you will see less and less of it in the future because people will refuse to pay for that when they can capture images straight out of the camera's themselves that look just as bad!!...and even then, their crappy little images will be protected under copyright law...you've got to be thankful for that!

Anonymous said...

There's a famous deli in Cleveland (my hometown) called Corky and Lenny's. It's been in business for many years. Their prices are higher than any fast-food place within driving distance. However, even in Cleveland there are no Mickey D's that serve pastrami or corned beef or homemade matzoh ball soup. (You can probably see where this is going.) Walk in to C&L for a meal, and expect to walk out a few $$$ lighter.

There is a sign on the wall of this restaurant, that despite their prices has weathered the onslaught of lesser restaurants, which sums up their business philosophy:

"You can buy new oats, or oats that have been used by the horse."

Jeff Glasser; freelance photographer

vansteen7@mac.com said...

I have the great good luck to work with thousands of professional and amateur photographers each year. Clearly, the conversion of this photographer's work is both illegal, and more to the point, disrespectful of the photographer. My grandmother would whip me raw for taking a cookie, let alone somebody's work.

In my work, one thing I have clearly learned is the difference between amateurs and professional photographers. It is not in their gear, or in what they charge. It is in their ability to see, differentiate, discriminate and manipulate the scene presented to them to acheive a different level of sensation when an image is viewed. It is also in the craftsmanship they invest in the work to produce the final product for the client.

That means composition skills; technical skills of near to far field manipulation (aka: Depth of field), dynamic range, exposure, supplementary and complementary lighting; understanding and using the volume and direction of light, printing technologies, project management issues, quality control time and discrimination, understanding book binding, DVD authoring, posing skills and much more. It takes years to gain real experience and competence in these.

Most people have no idea of what it takes to do this job right, just as I have no idea how long it takes to do auto repair right. Nor in how much it costs to operate a business. It is clear that the 30-50 hours of work that goes into each wedding project by the photographer is worth far more than a few members of the public perceive it to be, largely because of their ignorance of the facts. Professionals are more efficient, less costly in time and ultimately money, more discriminating about what make the product very well produced and generally save most couples from some very, very disappointing experiences.

The person who took those images and chose to use them for their own purposes, whatever those purposes were was wrong, even if ignorant. What started here as a question about the ethcs of converting the property of the photographer to one's own use, has evolved though.

Some of the entries in this string exhibit another disturbing trend that is becoming rather prevasive in society: degrading the value of the work of others (...."give me a break"....).

With mechanics charging near $100 per hour and refridgerator repairmen getting even more, the world has changed. Skills in every area are in short supply and a decent quality of life is harder and more expensive than ever to achieve.

I hope and suggest that those who would denigrate the work of others would choose to vote with their own wallet, when their own time comes, and not attempt to asses the value of the work of others until it is their choice and time to vote.

Respectfully,

John VanSteenberg
(Manager of Advanced Imaging Technologies)

Anonymous said...

Now that the dust is settling a bit I will post my comments. I am the photographer mentioned in this story. I will remain anonymous only so that people around the country can realize that this is a serious problem that affects every professional photographer, writer, musician and artists of all kinds, not just the ones in my area.

I want to thank some of the people who posted comments in my defense! Particularly those who do not know me! I love that a couple of my friends came running to my aid! Hugs to you! But it was great to hear some very positive comments from people who do not know me, it gives me hope for this issue.

I also want to thank those who did not agree with me. That is because I sincerely believe in the right to free speech and free dialogue. I can always learn from different points of view, and I sincerley hope that you will hear my side and possibly learn something from my point of view.

The point that can be missed with this issue is that artists earn their living by selling their work. Photographers, musicians and writers have become particularly vulnerable to theft by coping of their work due to the advances in technology. So vulnerable, in fact, that many will be going out of business in the near future, if they haven't already. At least in the photography profession.

The general public does not understand that even if you don't like the prices for our work, or what our work looks like, it does not give you the right to steal it. Let me make it perfectly clear that if you download images off my website without my permission, if you scan one of my prints, and make copies without my permission, and without compensation to me, you are stealing money out of my pocket and preventing me from earning a decent living.

Yes, I can't earn a decent living from from just taking the pictures! The public is not ready to pay the fee that would be required for my services, they only want to purchase the pieces of paper that my work is on, not my time in producing it. Most of you get paid for your time doing your job - most photography clients do not want to pay sitting fees, or creation fees for weddings! I'm not sure how they expect us to eat, but there you have it.

If you steal from me I can't pay my employees, I can't pay my bills and I can't pay my mortgage. Much the same way you won't be able to pay your bills if you have your paycheck stolen from you.

The copyright laws are nothing new, they were written many, many years ago, long before any of us was born! The lawmakers of the time realized that they needed to do something to help the creative artists protect their work. The current laws were revised over time to try to keep up with the changing times, but when they were revised our rights were not eroded, but strengthened! That was because the lawmakers recognized that we needed the extra protection. For more information about copyright issues and laws visit the Professional Photographers of America website www.ppa.com, and the United States Copyright Office www.copyright.gov.

One objection that was raised here was the "high" cost of professional (wedding photography specifically), and the perceived lack of talent of many of the photographers that person had interviewed. Let me address that. First of all, art is in the eye of the beholder, some people like Rembrandt, some people like Picasso, both great artists, but both very different. If you did not find a professional photographer who had the style you liked (and there are many, many talented photojournalistic (naturalistic) artists to choose from, not just your local newspaper guys), then I would respectfully submit that you had not looked hard enough for a true professional.

As to saying that it is okay to steal the pictures because we charge too much anyway, well, my answer to that would be: Does that mean that if I find the price of a Mercedes-Benz car too expensive I have the right to steal it? That if I object to how much a store charges for a blouse I should be able to steal that blouse because after all the store must be earning a "decent living" by selling all the things they do sell, so I have the right to steal one little blouse, right? I bet that store would have me in handcuffs pretty quickly if I tried that one on them!

The sad reality is that I don't have exactly the same protection for my product that Mercedes-Benz, or any boutique has because no police authority is going to show up on my behalf and arrest the person stealing from me. First I must make sure that all my work (thousands and thousands of images) are duly registered with the federal government, which I have to pay for. Then if I have been in compliance with that I must hire a lawyer and pursue the matter in civil/federal court, all at my own expense. No grocery store, department store, auto mall, or any other retail company has to comply with these rules to report a theft from their stores!

To those who object I would say that I would like you to be in our shoes for just one day so you would understand why this is such a sore subject with us. Perhaps you don't agree with protecting our copyrights because you equate us with the "big music mogels" who are "earning big bucks" from the little people. Well, two things, first we are not earning big bucks, many of us are struggling to get by. Second, I don't agree with stealing from the Music industry either. Yes, some people in that industry are earning way too much money,we should all be so lucky! But you know what, you have the option of not contributing to their bank accounts by simply not purchasing their products! That is the beauty of the capitol system. As a matter of fact I would encourage you to exercise the same right with regards to professional photography. You don't agree with our prices? You have the right to not purchase our products. You DO NOT have the right to steal it! Plain and simple.

Oh, and yes, I do admit that I should not have approached the boyfriend at the bar, that was bad judgment on my part. But again, the point is that I was yelled at by a group of people who thought it was perfectly fine to steal from me. That is a very sad comment on our society, and I am upset that some of you don't get that point. While I don't wish this to happen to anyone else, if and when you are in the same position some day I hope you will understand what I felt.

Thank you Jeffrey for including such an important problem in your column. Please keep reminding us to do the right thing!

Anonymous said...

I too am a professional photographer. It never ceases to amaze me that a person, who would never consider shoplifting from a store or taking property from a neighbors garage, thinks it's perfectly okay to steal my images. The fact that they paid for the original print has nothing to do with it. Say you purchased an original Thomas Kinkaid painting or Mary Engelbreit illustration. That does not mean you can make copies of that artwork. It means you can have and enjoy the one that you paid for. Photography is the same thing. Doesn't matter if the artist is famous or not.

There were several comments here about the supposed poor quality of some photography. I am not going to debate that. Beauty and worth is in the eye of the beholder. Stealing is stealing no matter what value you place on the object taken.
I have clients who say to me, when trying to justify why I should give them a copyright release, "But I am just going to use it for this pupose or that purpose". I make my living selling my work for those purposes. If they don't want to pay me for the images, then they should take pictures themselves with their own cameras and use those. Obviously they can see that my talent, skill, equipment and experience allows me to create something better than they can or they wouldn't have hired me in the first place.

Either you are an ethical person or you aren't. Either you take something that doesn't belong to you or you don't. It's as simple as that. All the justification in the world doesn't make it acceptable to steal.

Anonymous said...

After reading the comments about the wedding photographer and copyright infringements...I felt the conversations went far outside the realm of the real issue at hand. If I understand it: the photographer's website CLEARLY stated her copyright information while also providing links to copyright laws. That should end any further discussion. To take something from her website and use it for public use is a copyright infringement; plain and simple. A wedding is not for personal use. Like stealing from the cable company or plagerizing written material. The purpose of the low resolution on a website is to use it for your PERSONAL use; such as printing it out to get an idea of what you want to order etc. NOT to share and steal it. Courtesy for one's work ....

The discussion of high prices, expertise, "shoot and burn" is irrevelant, it is illegal to copy material that is not yours if it is copyrighted. Period. End of discussion. Cheap pictures, expensive photos, if they are copyrighted that ends all discussions.

MSC, Wisconsin

Anonymous said...

Everybody pays for the cost of copyright infringement. Years ago the professional photographer was the only one who could easily reproduce photos, be it from a wedding, a sitting or other event. This control provided the wedding photographer with three revenue streams from the wedding. The creative fee, the album and the reprint order. Typically the first two were paid for by the bride and her family. Meanwhile, friends and family paid for the last.

For a photographer to make a living from a wedding, they determined how much they needed to earn from an event. As a result, many photographers created minimum purchase amounts or provided incentives to meet those reprint goals. In effect, the newlyweds' friends and family helped defray some of the cost of wedding photography.

Now return to the present. Most every wedding photographer has seen their after wedding photo sales significantly decrease. Today's photographer must compete with cell phone cameras, digital cameras and the like. While some of these lost sales are due to technology, another portion is lost due to theft.

That's right the theft of the photos. Proof books are copied. Images are printed from the photographer's website. Who pays for this? Why the bride and groom do, in the form of higher photographer fees! The subsidy previously provided by friends and family purchasing photos no longer exists. For when the photographer can no longer count on after wedding sales, the photographer must raise their upfront creative fees.

Just remember this the next time you are complaining about the high cost of wedding photography or you are at a wedding and take a photo over the photographer's shoulder.

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