"Images From the Green Table: Photographs by a Randolph County Photographer"

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

I’m getting ready for the opening of a solo show tomorrow evening at the Circa Gallery in Asheboro, North Carolina. The title of the show, “Images From the Green Table: Photographs by a Randolph County Photographer”, comes from a group of still-life photographs I produced this winter in my den. I will be showing those as well as other images from my local area and other places. Everyone is cordially invited to join me for the opening from 5-8PM. The show will run till April, 13. For more info, the Facebook event page is http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=111458188864340&index=1.

Work Image and Post-Processing

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

This image is from a recent commercial shoot. For this blog, I do a considerable amount of post-processing to my photographs. I look at a blog as a venue for experimenting and trying new things. How much is enough? Actually, I think enough to produce the feeling that I’m after in a photograph. Digital imaging has made it easier to do such work, but it’s nothing new. In film days we used to do all sorts of lab techniques and duping processes to produce the looks we wanted. It just took a little longer and was sometimes a little messier. Even black and white master Ansel Adams talked about the negative being the score and the print being the performance. A raw digital file is merely an electronic negative and it is up to each of us to decide where to take it.

Need a Photographer? Then Find a Photographer.

In need of a photographer for your commercial or editorial project, or even your portrait in Greensboro, North Carolina? Then by all means, give me a call. But, if for some reason I’m not available, or if you need a photographer in another city and you don’t want to send me, or if you just don’t feel I’m right for the job, then take a look at the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) service “Find a Photographer”. On the national site, there is a listing by geographic area and specialty for the whole country with contact information and portfolios of member photographers. The national link is http://asmp.org/find-a-photographer. Most chapters also have their own listings. ASMP-NC, the chapter for North Carolina members has a link just for this state at http://asmp-nc.org/Find-a-Photographer.php. In either case, you are provided with a comprehensive list of established and experienced professionals that can fill your needs in completing your next photography project.

“Founded in 1944, the American Society of Media Photographers (originally the Society of Magazine Photographers and later the American Society of Magazine Photographers) is the leading trade association for photographers who photograph primarily for publication. ASMP promotes photographers’ rights, educates photographers in better business practices, produces business publications for photographers and helps buyers find professional photographers. ASMP has 39 chapters across the country and its members include many of the world’s foremost photographers.” (from http://www.asmp.org)

PS. For all of you with IPhones, there is a Find a Photographer app available for your phone.

Bad Contracts are Bad Business

I started this blog to share my photography with other people, not to be political or post news about photography equipment. There are other blogs that do that better than I can. Most of my posts are simply images and maybe a few words about the people or places I shoot. Since I am a board member of ASMP-North Carolina, I do occasionally make an ASMP announcement or talk about the business of photography. This is one of these posts.

Professional photographers are often requested to sign contracts when they accept new assignments, and over the years I have seen my share, some good, and some not so good. An art director for a large US book and magazine publisher contacted me yesterday with a request to license an image he had seen on this blog for use on a book cover. He sent me a PDF of a layout with my image on it. Evidently he didn’t see my notice that no use of my images is allowed without express permission. Nonetheless, I gladly quoted him a very fair figure for very specific use and terms for the image, and he said everything sounded fine. He said he would forward a contract to me. I questioned the need for me to sign a contract, since the image was a stock image of mine, and my invoice and usage forms act as a contract by themselves. He said the publisher was required to have a contract and that their’s was very simple and would reflect my terms. I told him I would take a look at the contract and if everything were in order, I would then forward a high rez file.

Today I received the contract and it was the most heinous document I have ever seen in my 30 years of business. First of all, the contract read as if I was doing an assignment. My image is a personal image, shot on my time, and already totally my property (The shot had no people in it, so model releases were not involved.). I had offered the art director non-exclusive rights for a book cover first run plus reprints, period, with my terms being payment due upon receipt of my invoice. The contract I received required me to give the publisher exclusive world-wide rights to the image for the life of the work. Editorial use of the image was allowed in any of the publisher’s subsidiary publications for 15% of the original fee plus advertising use was allowed for 20%. They also claimed a six-month option to buy my copyright for an additional 100% of the fee and there was a clause stating that I would be required to reshoot the image if they found it inadequate (Remember, this was for a stock image I had already produced.). Payment for any invoice would be on their “normal” schedule, for which they did not define what normal is .

I immediately called the art director and told him that there is no possible way I will ever sign such a contract. He told me I could cross out any offending language, and I told him I would have to cross out the entire document. I then told him I would be happy to license the image for my original usage terms. He said he would get back to me.

The photography business is rough these days, and none of us can afford to miss a sale, least of all me. However, a bad business climate is not an excuse to give away your work through bad contracts, nor is it an excuse for publishers to try to take advantage of innocent and gullible artists. I still have hope in negotiating a sale, however, a bad deal is a bad deal, especially when it jumps up and slaps you in the face.

Photography Show and Exhibit by Dan Routh

(Photograph copyright 2009 by Dan Routh)

I am stepping away from commercial and advertising work and taking part in a photography show and exhibit on Friday, December 4, 2009 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm at Studio B Event Center, 520 South Elm Street in Greensboro, in connection with Downtown Greensboro’s First Friday art tour of downtown art venues. Everyone is cordially invited to come by and take at look. It’s free. I will be sharing space with Greensboro aluminum artist Scott Harris. This is something new for me. While I have shown individual pieces in shows and competitions over the years, this will be my first exhibit of this size. I’m excited and hope those who attend will enjoy what we hang. For more info on First Friday, go to http://www.downtownfridays.com/Listings.html.

RCC Post Processing Seminar

On Monday I had the pleasure of presenting a short seminar to the commercial photography class at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, North Carolina. I worked with the class on digital post-processing techniques in Photoshop. My intent was to get the students to experiment with what is possible with post-processing and to push things a bit. Photoshop is a tool, and by understanding what is possible, a photographer can make decisions on what is the most efficient way to produce a photographic illustration. I don’t advocate Photoshop as a do-all, and we did push the envelope a little, but by learning what you can do, you can then decide what you should do to an image. I was impressed by the quality of the students I worked with and it was quite an enjoyable day, and I would like to thank the folks at RCC for having me. Above is an image of one of the students I did during the day as an example, a simple portrait against a plain brick wall and then pushed a bit.

(photographs copyright 2009 by Dan Routh)

Digital Photography Workshop

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of teaching a basic digital photography workshop in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The workshop was sponsored by my cousin Cory Routh who besides working for the State of Virginia as a marine biologist doing water quality work, runs a kayak fishing service in the Tidewater area called Ruthless Fishing. I hope the students enjoyed and learned something from the Saturday class. I know I enjoyed it. The workshop was held at First Landing/Seashore State Park on Cape Henry, a nice natural area with cypress swamp.

For more info on Cory’s company and kayak fishing, go to http://www.ruthlessfishing.com/.

(photographs copyright 2009 by Dan Routh)