Respecting Client Wishes in a Digital age: Is sharing really caring?

I am taking a break from my interviews, shoots and editing schedule for a moment to address an issue I see brought up often in photographers communities regarding sharing images from shoots. How do we as photographers follow our clients wishes for privacy and still do the level of promotion demanded in a digital age?12124257_10153601589364326_1935397683_o

Photo cred: the oh so lovely Nikki Rennie of Niche Photography

I sometimes get asked by clients that images be kept out of social media (usually this happens before the shoot is booked). Boudoir shoots for instance have a higher rate of requests for privacy.

Photographers will tell you that they have all rights to the images they take and that is true. Photographers are seen as artists and the work they produce is considered “theirs” by copyright laws. I often see posts in photographers community groups where a photographer is complaining openly about a request for privacy from a client. So who is right and who is wrong? The client for wanting more privacy or the Photographer who feels they have created something amazing and wish to share it with the world?

The answer to me has always been both are right. Yes it’s a confusing issue but I believe with transparency up front a lot can be gained for the client and the photographer. Here are my recommendations:

For a photography client seeking privacy: State what you want in the very beginning. Photographers that have established careers and a large portfolio are more likely to gladly grant your request for privacy. We are often too busy to post anyways. However they may charge you a service fee for this. Consider that the majority of clients are fine with sharing and that these images could potentially get a photographers work published or they could win a competition with it or garner more clients once they see them. This means they will have to forgo many things that are considered to be the norm for photographers. If they are in demand they may turn you down at this request simply because they know another client will want your time slot and not have such a request. I have to keep notes on file to remind me of which shoots are to remain private. Many photographers may worry they cannot possibly keep track of what is to remain private (although this sounds like a small feet it is not when you consider the volume of shoots we must store). So be upfront at the very beginning and see how the photographer handles your request. Whatever you do dont make this request AFTER the shoot as you may not like the response.

For a photographer: If you’re starting out you may think this is a deal breaker but if it is a paid shoot think again. It’s still you getting paid to hone your craft. If it is a FREE shoot for your portfolio and privacy is an issue walk away. A long time ago artistic works could only be seen by those in the presence of the physical work. Now everything is blasted across the globe. Perhaps you are protected legally by the law to share your work as you see fit and have even had clients sign releases as an extra guarantee (a good idea if sharing to promote is a non-negotiable for you) BUT are you morally behaving in a way you wish to be known for by clients? Only you can answer that question.

For myself I will continue to protect my clients desire for privacy in a world where privacy is almost non-existent. Even if a picture looks amazing to me and I wish so badly I could share it (this has happened a few times). I will not. Does this limit my ability to book more shoots as I cannot fully promote my brand when I can’t share all of my shoots? Perhaps. However in my experience having overjoyed clients has meant more bookings for me than any online campaign. The work I have been able to share and maintaining a reputation as someone who loves and appreciates their clients has been enough for me.

To understand the copywrite law in regards to Photographers in Ontario take a look at this amazing article on CAPIC.ORG

And that brings me to another hot topic photography issue: How much social media sharing (on facebook and Insta) is appropriate for a photography business. I have compiled a few notes from the experts on what is appropriate and what is overkill and will in fact lose you clients and followers at the end of the day. That will all be covered in my next photography blog post!

Have a beautiful day!

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Kingston Wedding Expert Interview Series: Choosing a Videographer

I often get asked for referrals from brides looking for a videographer. Now more than ever wedding videography has become one of the most artistic and beautiful ways to honor and forever cherish those special moments when you say “I do”. I sat down with someone I truly enjoy working with, Erica Groves, to ask her a few questions for brides trying to decide on the right Videographer for them.

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What should brides ask a Videographer before booking them?

The Bride and Groom should first and foremost ask for some examples of their work. Preferably several different videos and their most recent work. Although training, experience and knowledge of the equipment they use is good to know, the work speaks for itself. If you like what you see, ask about the steps you need to take to secure your date. Usually a deposit and a contract are required to secure your spot. It is very common practice for companies to have several different freelance workers hired to shoot or edit for them during a busy wedding season. Reputable companies would of course hire professional and talented people to work under their name but always clarify who will be shooting and editing your footage. If it is not the business owner, ask to see examples of the freelancer’s work.
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Tell us a little bit about yourself. Why did you decide to become a Videographer?

There wasn’t really a point in time that I decided to become a videographer. I’ve always known that video was my career path. A friend of mine actually has some dusty old VHS tapes of us kids putting on productions in her basement. I think that might have been the beginning of my love for video! So thank you Megan’s parents for having a video camera in the early 90’s! haha! In high school I had a wonderful Com Tech teacher, Mr. Freestone. He knew I had a passion for video and really nurtured my love for production. He even created a course just for me so I could continue to work on those skills after I had taken all of the Com Tech classes that were available! After high school I was accepted into the Television and New Media Course at Loyalist College and graduated in 2004. This course was incredible. It taught us everything from script writing, studio production, post production, news gathering, business and marketing etc. That three year course was invaluable to me. I learned so much and I utilize the skills and training it gave me still to this day. A few years after graduation I built up the courage to start my own production company. I took a 6 week business course at Trenval and with their support, along with the support of my friends and family, I continue to happily work in my field of choice. I feel very blessed every day.
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How do you inject a couple’s personality into their video?

Whenever a Bride and Groom send me an email after receiving their video expressing how happy they are with the results, my heart fills with joy and my first instinct is to always say “You guys did it!”. I know that I’m the one that films their day and edits the footage but I really do feel like the Bride and Groom are what make the video special. Photographers are very hands on when it comes to Bride and Grooms on their wedding days-they have to be! Posing and setting up shots is part of their job. My job as a videographer is a bit different. I’m there to capture the day as it unfolds. I get all of the candid stuff in between poses. That’s what makes a video so special. I love hearing the giggles between the Bride and Groom as they are staring at one another inches away from each others faces … *sigh*. It never gets old.
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Why should couples hire a Videographer?

Couples should hire a videographer because at the end of the day, what are you left with? 20 years down the road you aren’t going to pull out seat covers, flowers or centre pieces to remember your day. You will pull out your photos and video. Not that the decorative details don’t matter. I had my wedding and those things were important to me too! That’s why budgets are so tricky. Ever since I started I have tried to keep my prices as competitive as possible because I know how important video footage of your wedding day is. Not just footage of the Bride and Groom either! When I shoot a wedding I always make sure to get footage of Parents, Grandparents, friends and family. There is something special about watching and hearing your wedding day on top of having still photographs of it. So many times I hear from past clients that hiring a videographer was the best decision they made. I always encourage people in the wedding party or family members to chip in if budget is a concern. They are getting the couple a wedding gift anyways, why not get them a gift that lasts a lifetime?ERICA4

What are one of your favorite memories from a wedding you shot?

That is such a tough question! There have been many. One that I can think of was from this past summer. The Bride and Groom had purchased these very large sparklers for their guests to light and stand in a circle around them as they had their first dance. When Jess (the Bride) first mentioned this I have to admit, I was concerned! But when they took to the patio outside of their reception hall and those sparklers lit up … it was magical. The video looked amazing.
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What is your favorite part about your job? Editting? Shooting?

My favourite part of my job is hearing how happy the couple is with their video. And not for ego reasons haha! I really think it’s so rare that someone gets to do a job where you bring happiness and joy to other people as a result of something that you made for them. Making people happy is the best feeling in the world. In terms of shooting and editing … I can’t really choose! Shooting is great because I’m a people person so I love getting out there and being smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of wedding days. Plus I meet so many great people along the way! Guests AND other people in the wedding industry! But I also love being a hermit too, so at the end of a very busy wedding season I am perfectly happy to close the door to my office to start reliving all of the beautiful wedding days I had experienced all summer long. Once April hits though I am usually vibrating to get back out there. I get the best of both worlds I guess! 🙂

You can check out Erica’s work at

And like her Facebook page here

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10 Gifts for your favorite Photographer in 2015

‘Tis the season for gift-giving and if someone on your list happens to be a lover of photography (and well, feminine, like moi – SORRY GUYS!!), you have come to the right place!! Lets get to it. We’re losing daylight and shopping days here.

  1. Camera straps are like shoes to a lady photog, you can never have enough. These ones made by FotoStrap are not only customizable but a portion of the proceeds goes to charity. You can have your loved one’s name or even business name, if they are a pro, monogrammed for that extra touch that says you care.On-Camera_Scarlet_Monogrammed_grande

Get it here

If she happens to be more into the look of a camera scarf these days, you CAN NOT go wrong with Bloom Theory.

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Get it here

2. Camera shaped USB Flash Drive: Who doesn’t need an extra flash drive? These camera shaped ones are sure to please even amateur shutterbugs just getting started. 31Rn9msUy5L

Get it here

 

3. Think CUSTOM. Photographers are artists and they love to know that you like their work or see something special about it. That’s why ZAZZLE is a tremendous resource for anyone hunting for the perfect gift for that artistic friend. If you have access to some high resolution jpegs of their work now is the time to get sneaky and put it on a  shirt, mug, iphone case, stickers, notebooks, totes, buttons… ok you get the idea. The options seem endless with Zazzle. My personal favorite is the old customizable mousepad. That way when they are working away on edits they can periodically think of what a supportive sweetie you are. Not to mention the customizable tote with a shot they love on it or business name.

 

Get them here

4.Speaking of totes, that brings me to our next gift that is sure to please your fashionable photographer loved one. Just like straps, you can never have enough camera bags, and the Hanover, made by Jo Totes is the perfect cross between fashion and function. A nifty feature in this bag is the removable insert that could even be used in other bags of similar sizes instantly turning them into camera bags too!! Who doesn’t love options.

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Get it here

5.What gift gives instant gratification better than an instant camera! I received my first Polaroid camera when I graduated grade 8 and I was overjoyed with it and still have photos I took with that little red number. Now people can really get their craftiness on with Instax cameras and Project Life. It’s the modern woman’s version of memory keeping and journaling and the Instax camera is a great way to get started in documenting life. Or she can simply hang them from the wall with decorative clothes pins. If she is really crafty she can turn her insta pics into tree ornaments. Look here to find out more about Project Life. Project Life products and Instax cameras are sold at Michaels stores.

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Get it here

6.A Photobook company gift card. This is a very versatile gift as it can be used towards a variety of things that will spark that special someone’s creativity. They could design the perfect canvas, photo book or even coasters. They can have fun showing off their work thanks to you. Many companies offer gift cards. Two of which are Photo book Canada or Shutter Fly.

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7. Creative Live online classes. This is a gift of learning for that budding photographer or seasoned pro alike. In the field of photography, one HAS to be a lifelong student as our industry is ever-changing. The BEST online resource for this is Creative Live. Unfortunately, they currently do not offer gift cards, but Giftly is an online resource that will allow you to give an amount of money with a suggestion of how to spend it, but the recipient has complete flexibility (you are a considerate one, aren’t you). This way you tell them that you know they love photography and getting their creative learning on but hey, if they would rather buy another camera strap, that’s cool too.

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Get it here

8. Give the gift of inspiration. Books and Magazines are great for this but not all are created equal. My eyes tend to glaze over whenever I look at the photography section of the magazines at my local book store. Every article preaching about gear and the covers heavy on print and light on artistic expression or thoughtfulness. Enter Click Magazine to save the day. Created by an online forum of very talented female photographers who happen to be moms it is a world apart and yet still manages to delve into that technical side of photography. A subscription to this magazine is a gift that will keep giving all year round and they can be proud to have it on their coffee table.

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Get it here

9. Sometimes the only gift better than jewelry, is jewelry based on your passion. My hubby surprised me with some gorgeous silver camera earrings one year and my clients always notice them. This pendant will be sure to please your shutterbug too.51SHDoQobbL._UY395_

 

Get it here

And if the lady prefers rings there is always this gorgeous and budget friendly choice…

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Get it here

10. And when all else fails go with a mug!

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Get it here

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or here

I hope this list helped and I wish you the best of luck with your gift giving this season. Happy Holidays!!!

 

The Importance of Words

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This past week I had the joy of giving back by donating my time to a great cause. I worked with the Kingston Humane Society by working at their Paws at the Point fundraiser and taking portraits for their upcoming calendar. I managed to raise more cash than the last time I did it so yay for growth! Afterward it was a matter of editing out things like leashes and owners hands. Unfortunately I came down with a nasty flu bug that is going around which made my turn around time which is usually very fast (2-3 days for regular shoots) double. I know what a silly thing to worry about right? I pride myself on my quick turn around though. Sometimes staying up to 4am while my son sleeps just to get those images done but not rush through the process (latte’s are my friend). Being sick meant something had to fall by the way side. I’m not sure what you dump first from your list of jobs but for me its house work. It goes right down the tubes and when that happens I can get quite frustrated with my environment.

So lets just say I was in need of motivation this week. Thankfully I got what I needed and really it was just a bunch of words arranged perfectly in just such a combination as to produce the emotional effect of someone wrapping their arms around me and giving me the figurative lift up I needed to push through. The words came from my husband (who wrote an eloquent and beautiful oh so romantic email that literally got me out of bed the one day). They also came from an editor who is going to be publishing my work and really liked a past shoot I did and from the people whose doggies I took pictures of (the heartfelt thank you emails that poured in after I was done editing meant so much to me). Now I can say I’m almost at full speed again and the kind words I have received I truly believe have helped me get there quicker than I may have without them.

As a photographer I am captivated chiefly by images but words often inspire the images I create. I read or enjoy a good audio book every week and when a writer is truly gifted it gives me the same awe I feel watching a great dancer. I often have the thought “I wish I could do that”. Words can inspire great acts of love or great acts of violence. The power of words cannot be measured. When I find something has helped and touched me I wonder how can I do the same for others so I thought it might be fun to start giving out quotes. I may not be a great writer but I can always share with others that which inspires and uplifts me. I will be making a quote a week and posting them on my website for instagram or pinterest use. Quotes are a wonderful way to spread joy and I will post the quotes on the authors birthdays as an homage.

Now I leave you with a very cute doggy I took pictures of at Big Paws and a quote to enjoy!!

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Why I take pictures

Last night curled up in my little boys bed snuggling after a story about the moon and another about cars in the silence feeling him fall deeper asleep in my arms I started to cry. I have the annoying trait of being a happy crier. I literally can’t hold it in. If I’m overwhelmed with joy and gratitude the tears just start flowing. Sometimes I giggle at myself and shake my head and call myself silly for it but I have come to accept that sometimes feeling so happy is interlaced with some sort of sadness that the moment in its perfection is falling away. I haven’t learned at almost 35 years of age how to let go of that desire to freeze time. Freeze the perfection of beautiful palpable moments and I think that’s why photography has been such a perfect match for me.

I have been blessed to be told by clients that they literally cried when they saw the images I took for them and I instantly identify with that feeling. I’m not a fan of making people cry but causing happy tears may be my absolute favorite part of my job. Making someone stop going from point A to point B and focused on tasks to see how  precious this time in there life is has been such a gift.

Its easy in the rush of a shoot to go into a zone of action. You get totally lost in the moment and that’s a wonderful feeling. Great shoots always start out with a plan but grow almost organically and its easy to remember why I am so blessed to be doing something I adore.

But its when I’m in those still moments of contemplation with no camera in sight that I appreciate what I do the most. In the midst of a kiss with my husband. It’s in the giggles while I chase my little guy in the hall way to home. Those are the moments when I know why I really chase after those illusive, beautiful, heart breaking and perfect moments and always will. Its just who I am. I’m a photographer with a photographers heart, even when there’s no camera in my hands.

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In Defense of the Dreaded, Demonized Selfie

Oh yes I’m going there. I will get right to my points:

 

1-These awesome people did it. I don’t know if you recognize them but if you do its undoubtedly due to the fact that they took the time to paint selfie’s.

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2-Its a form of self expression and self expression is good. Even if you are an attention seeking ham for the camera I say I love it. Keep being you and your kind will find and applaud you for it.

3-If you take more selfies you will become more comfortable with a camera and angles to try. New skills are great!!

4-Because nobody puts baby in a corner/takes away her eye phone and tells her to stop duck facing.

5-Because the surest way to start seeing the beauty in others is by seeing it first in yourself.

6-Because its no fun to take yourself too seriously.

7-Because the people who love you love to see your face and maybe a very long time from now your great grand kids will enjoy getting to see pictures of you through all your life’s journeys (especially the ones you ventured alone with only your own hand to catch that shot)

8-Because a lot of selfie takers are not vapid. Sometimes they are artists who love, adore and are just freaking mad about life and that they are hear right now. They are fully present today and they just HAVE to document it.

Some of us just love life and the place we hold in it. Oh and that new dress we bought today. It’s just too cute not to share. As for me I love the selfie’s in my feed. Maybe its people who need love and maybe its people full of love and gratitude, either way I’m hitting the like button. Selfie on my friends!

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