You Wonder Why A Pro Photographer Is Protective Of Our Work?

Photographer –

So I’m doing some research on an image I created. This caused me to go to the Garfield Home website. I stumbled upon a photography event at the Garfield Home, part of the US National Parks. Here’s a link to the event.

The National Parks is inviting photographers to come photograph the historical site. I’m thinking hmmmmm, might be interesting to attend. As I look through the event description, I come upon the following statement:
“Images will become the property of the National Park Service, though all photographers will receive digital copies.”

Are you kidding me? The NPS is going to ALLOW me to have copies of my creations! Typical, the National Parks Service among others know nothing about Copyrights. But they believe every photographer that’s worth anything will jump at the opportunity to spend their time creating copyright images. Then turn the rights over to the NPS just so the NPS can publish them anywhere, anytime and for any purpose with NO compensation to the maker.

Myself and every other professional photographer have money, and time wrapped up in equipment, expenses, training and building our craft. But typical of so many today who believe we photographers don’t care to eat, don’t want to pay our mortgage, have no need to invest into our business. So if you’re willing to give something away, maybe that’s exactly what it’s worth – NOTHING! You won’t see me at this event. business card

Your Rights – Public Photography

Your Rights

Often photographers will ask about their right to photograph people in public? Do I need a release? Let’s start by asking where are you? Legal rights vary from country to country. They may even vary from state to state or city to city. With technology being what it is today, you might start out on Google. Some countries may say OK, but some cultures there may say NO!

Generally here in the states, I will compare my situation that of a photo-journalist. What do they do relative to photographing in public? Often, they will record names and location to identify the subject in print. You don’t see the photographer asking someone in public to sign a release. The time spent getting their subject’s name allows time to discuss usage and any problems publishing the photograph. This may not necessarily address any legal issues, but it sure gives the subject the right to ask not to have their image published. You might also use this time to offer to send a print as a “thank you”.

Here in northeast Ohio, we have a big event coming to town, the Republican National Convention. There will be a lot of people here in town, offering lots of photo opportunities. You may even spot some celebrities. With that in mind, you might want to learn more about your rights and the subjects rights. A panel discussion is being put on by the National Press Photographer Association (NPPA) at Cleveland State University. You will need to register for this free event.

Musician playing banjo on stage.

Workin’ a bad banjo!

What’s All The Fuss?

Have you noticed how photographers are overly protective of their images? I often get requests from people to send them digital photos. To the point they feel  they are entitled to them. Here’s an example of why photographers are so protective. A photographer image of her daughter was stolen then entered into a competition! Can you believe the nerve?  Read on……

Working For FREE?

If you own a business, I’m sure at some point you’ve been asked to work for FREE. In this case the article is directed at photographers. But I’ll bet if you replace “photographer” with your profession, the scenario will sound familiar. Check out the article and give me your thoughts!

How Would You Respond as a Photographer if You Are Asked to Work for Free?

How A Photographer Turned Pro!

Almost everyone today believes that technology makes you a photographer. You’ve heard me talk about understanding light, learning the craft, knowing your camera/phone and studying light. Here’s an article about Michael Afonso and his journey to turning pro.

Michael Afonso: How a Portrait Photographer Went Pro

British Photographers Invade Cleveland College Of Art & Design

A group of British photographers spent time with photography students talking about photography as a profession and shared techniques. Having mentored local high school students about entrepreneurship, I would encourage you to spend time with students on careers and other adult issues. They need and appreciate our guidance. Read on and feel free to express your thoughts!

Photography And Copyrights – Who Cares?

Let’s start by saying as soon as you press the shutter, your image is protected under federal copyright laws. Many social media sites are changing their “terms-of-service” to minimize or eliminate your rights under the copyright laws. Do you wonder why photographers are so fussy about protecting their work. You may say, “but I’m not a professional, so no big deal”. Maybe that’s true, but do you want to give up your rights so quickly? Copyrights first, then what?

Find out more by attending this free 1-hour webinar

Photography And The “Retail Syndrome”

I don’t know why, but so many clients feel that by paying a photographer for service, they OWN the results.  Perhaps it’s what I’ll call the “Retail Purchase Syndrome”.  You walk into the store, give the cashier the money and walk out with whatever you paid for.  Now it’s yours.

 It doesn’t work that way when dealing with creative work.  Here’s an educational article written for the graphic arts field, but the same laws apply to photography.  Enjoy the link:

As always, give me your thoughts.

Please Tell Me If I Get This Bad!

Photography has been a passion of mine for almost – well, too many years (chuckle).  Even as a kid I used my Dad’s 8mm movie camera to make a stupid little movie.  I cut a door in a cardboard box.  The box was large enough to fit over one of my friends.  I started the movie camera (no sound in those days), had the kid in the box exit through the cut door,  then and stop the camera.  I repeated this process until all the kids in the neighborhood took a turn.  So when the movie was shown, you watched 10 or 12 kids crawl out of a box big enough for one, one after the other.  I thought it was cool anyway.

 OK, Back to my original topic. Generally, I try to use my blog to educate you the reader and share my work.  This post will vary from that concept.  Why you ask?  As a small business owner, I realize the importance of customer service.  I strive to make that my way of life. At a recent networking meeting, we talked about examples of poor customer service we experienced here in Lake County, OH.  It was interesting to hear the local businesses that made the list.  Here they are:

  • Heinens – Mentor
  • Giant Eagle – Willowick ( the word Horrible was used)
  • Giant Eagle – Willoughby
  • Giant Eagle – Mentor On The Lake (One employee was named specifically)
  • Active Plumbing – Painesville
  • Lowe’s – Mentor (mentioned by several)
  • Home Depot – Diamond Center
  • Time Warner Cable – Painesville/Concord
  • AT&T – One of our members has been waiting since Dec, 2012 to get a fax line transferred.

Those are some major names in the area. So my question is: What’s been your experience at these businesses?  Good, Bad or other?  Feel free to speak your mind.

I hope my customers have great things to say about my studio, A Thomas Image.  If you see my business headed in the direction of those listed above, please, please, please take the time to tell me so.  I would really, really, really like to know!

Is Cheap Photography Really Good For The Customer?

There is no doubt this economy has taken it’s toll on small business.  I get offers to shoot for organizations for free in hopes their event will generate leads for my studio – Yeah right!  Brides call to get pricing for wedding photography with a budget of $500.00.  But they know someone with a big camera who will do it for free.  Mom’s call for pricing only to tell me they can go to Sears or Walmart an get all these prints for less than my sitting fee.

Well check out what’s happened at Sears and Walmart.  Their photography vendor just pulled out of the US Market.  Maybe there are other reasons for the pull out, but I wonder just how long can you be the cheapest provider and stay in business.  Read on…..

Give me your comments!

Photography Assingment – Too Good To Be True?

This was an inquiry I received through  After going through this inquiry, I made up my mind I would not participate in the assignment.  You know what they say about “too-good-to-be-true”.

Hello I will like to confirm if you can shoot a wedding event on the 23rd of November 2011? Please get back to me. at Regards

So I responded and below is the thread for the email listed above


Yes, I have Nov 23rd, 2011 open.  Will you and/or your fiance call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX to discuss your details and arrive at pricing and a contract.

Tom Szabo, Photographer

Mark’s reply:
Thanks for the mail,Here is a little about the wedding.The wedding is taking place in Denver, Colorado. It is an 7 hours event starting from 9am till 4 pm. It is an indoor event which consist of 100 guest at most, I will like you to cover the reception as well which will start from 2 Pm till 4 pm on that day. I will like the picture to be on a CD, and I don’t have a wedding planner, I plan it by myself. Please reply me by e-mail cos I am physically impaired (Hearing).  You may think about the flight and hotel accommodation, there is provision for that , my flight agent will make arrangement for that. I think with all the details have given to you now,Calculate your fee alone, you should be able to calculate and let me know how much it will cost. Please get back to me as soon as possible. I just contacted you via marketing tools and want to know if you can handle it.


Your email did not allow me to determine if one or two photographers will be required.  So, I’m going to assume that two photographers will be necessary for complete coverage.  Providing 7 hours of coverage will therefore require a 3/4 day (9 hour).  I’ve attached a wedding photography price sheet for your review.  You’ll see that the fee for a 3/4 day , two photographers is $X,XXX.00.  In addition you will need to select your final deliverable(s) and add that to the fee.  You indicated you desire a CD of images as your deliverable.  The fee for that $XXX.00.  Should you decide on additional products, you can add in those fees also.  You would be required to cover all travel, accommodations (2 rooms), meals and car rental expenses.  Since you indicated you have a travel planner,  I’m sure they can make the arrangements and work out direct billing to you for all expenses.

If this meets with your approval, Please let me know and I will email a contract to you.  It will detail the scope of services, deliverable, fees, expense coverage and deposit.  I await your reply.

Tom Szabo, Photographer

By Mark:
Thanks so much….I am very much okay for the price for 2 photographer. Please get back to me and let me know how much I need to pay as initial deposit to get the date reserved. Also get back to me with your name and address so that I can get the check for the deposit sent as soon as possible. I want everything to work out fast cos the date is drawing closer.

Thanks so much

I then email asking Mark why he had to fly two photographers in to Cleveland.  There must be photographers in Denver that can handle the assignment.  At this point I gotten no reply from Mark.  Strange inquiry – wouldn’t you agree?

Mark’s email address is:
You might want to watch for these types of inquiries.  So you see not only do consumers have to watch out for unscrupulous service providers, business owners need to watch for questionable customers.


As a photographer, I attempt to “eke” out a living using my camera equipment, studio, creative talent and through the sale of my work.  Pro photographers work hard in this current economic state to find the next assignment and/or client.  In addition, professional photographers are always concerned about unauthorized used of their images.

I’ve been reading the terms of use/user agreement for Facebook and LinkedIn.  As a result, until I better understand their “legaleze” my images will no longer get posted on these social media sites.  In case your interested, here’s what I found on both these sites  on this topic (as of the date of this blog post).  Read on and give me your thoughts.

From LinkedIn:

License and warranty for your submissions to LinkedIn.

You own the information you provide LinkedIn under this Agreement, and may request its deletion at any time, unless you have shared information or content with others and they have not deleted it, or it was copied or stored by other users. Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including but not limited to any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties. Any information you submit to us is at your own risk of loss as noted in Sections 2 and 3 of this Agreement.

By providing information to us, you represent and warrant that you are entitled to submit the information and that the information is accurate, not confidential, and not in violation of any contractual restrictions or other third party rights. It is your responsibility to keep your LinkedIn profile information accurate and updated.

From Facebook:

  1. Sharing Your Content and InformationYou own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
  2. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  3. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
  4. When you use an application, your content and information is shared with the application.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, read our Privacy Policy and About Platform page.)
  5. When you publish content or information using the “everyone” setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
  6. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).