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November, 2011

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Colbert's MeReporters Underscores Absurdity of Working for Free

Steven Colbert brings his satirical comedy to bear on the notion of “free reporters” who get paid nothing, like CNN's iReport, in the wake of the layoffs of 50 CNN photojournalists and other staff.

Colbert notes CNN also launched an “Assignment Desk” where you an actually go out and report on things that CNN wants, and then goes further, saying “iReporters do not get paid, they get something even better, badges, which, I assume, are redeemable for food and rent.”

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Groom Sues Photographer, Demands Re-Shoot

It should be pretty clear by now that you can be sued for anything. Enter grudge-holding groom Todd Remis, who has decided to sue his wedding photographer 8 years after the wedding, and 3 years after the couple divorced, her whereabouts unknown. The New York Times reports on the whole fiasco here, where the ex-groom wants over $50k, which includes his money back plus the cost to fly his 40 or so guests back to recreate the wedding.

This would be where, if you were a wedding photographer, you should be calling your insurance company, and telling them “deal with this distraction, I have a business to run”, and thaIt should be pretty clear by now that you can be sued for anything. Enter grudge-holding groom Todd Remis, who has decided to sue his wedding photographer 8 years after the wedding, and 3 years after the couple divorced, her whereabouts unknown. The New York Times reports on the whole fiasco here, where the ex-groom wants over $50k, which includes his money back plus the cost to fly his 40 or so guests back to recreate the wedding.

This would be where, if you were a wedding photographer, you should be calling your insurance company, and telling them “deal with this distraction, I have a business to run”, and that's what they would do. What policy type would cover this? According to Renee Green (email), of the Hays Group, who handles insurance for many NPPA members, this would likely have been covered by either a general liability clause, or an errors & ommissions clause, depending upon the exact nature of the claim, and, of course, provided that the claim was made while the insurance was in effect. If, however, you had a claim made against you for work done years ago, and only got insurance this year, you wouldn't be covered. All the more reason to have insurance always, and ongoing.

Further, the Professional Photographers of America has sample wedding contracts (login required, here) that include a limitation of liability clause:

If the Studio/Photographer cannot perform this Contract due to fire or other casualty, strike, act of God, or other cause beyond the control of the parties, or due to Photographer’s illness or emergency, then the Photographer shall return the deposit to the Client but shall have no further liability with respect to the Contract. This limitation on liability shall also apply in the event that photographic materials are damaged in processing, lost through camera or other media malfunction, lost in the mail, or otherwise lost or damaged without fault on the part of the Photographer. In the event the Studio/Photographer fails to perform for any other reason, the Studio/Photographer shall not be liable for any amount in excess of all monies paid.

I'm sure that some variation of that clause existed in the defendant's contract.

It's business people, and when the paperwork gets in the way of the creative stuff, you'd better make sure your paperwork is in order, and you're protected. Otherwise, you'll spend all sorts of time dealing with the unpleasantries, and it could even cost your your house.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)


Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.at's what they would do. Further, the Professional Photographers of America has sample wedding contracts (login required, here) that include a limitation of liability clause:
If the Studio/Photographer cannot perform this Contract due to fire or other casualty, strike, act of God, or other cause beyond the control of the parties, or due to Photographer’s illness or emergency, then the Photographer shall return the deposit to the Client but shall have no further liability with respect to the Contract. This limitation on liability shall also apply in the event that photographic materials are damaged in processing, lost through camera or other media malfunction, lost in the mail, or otherwise lost or damaged without fault on the part of the Photographer. In the event the Studio/Photographer fails to perform for any other reason, the Studio/Photographer shall not be liable for any amount in excess of all monies paid.

I'm sure that some variation of that clause existed in the defendant's contract.

It's business people, and when the paperwork gets in the way of the creative stuff, you'd better make sure your paperwork is in order, and you're protected. Otherwise, you'll spend all sorts of time dealing with the unpleasantries, and it could even cost your your house.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)


Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

PhotoPlus Re-cap: Seminars & Tech

PhotoPlus Expo was enlightening this year, for a number of reasons. Among them, a big hit at the show when it comes to continuous-light sources, but more on that in a minute. American Photographic Artists (Yes, that's the new name for what used to be referred to as Advertising Photographers of America, or APA) brought myself and Michael Grecco in for a rousing discussion about the value in licensing, and how to generate revenue over the life of your image's viable (and valuable) time. PDNPulse did a very nice write-up on it here
PhotoPlus Panel: Why Licensing Matters (10/31/11) so I won't recap their piece except to encourage you to read the review and learn a few of the tidbits that you missed if you weren't in attendance.) PhotoPlus Panel: Why Licensing Matters, summarizing the presentation by saying “making extra money on photographs you’ve already taken, that’s just a smarter way to do business.”

On the technology side, several companies caught our attention.

(Continued after the Jump)


First up, is the company ikan, which has an amazing array of CLS lighting. Just when you thought you had every strobe you needed, all of a sudden you're now “shooting just a little bit of video” for that still client (or branching into multimedia all-together) and realize that strobes just don't do it for your video needs. Enter CLS, and ikan, with amazingly reasonable prices on their lighting products with blindingly bright LED units that are small and mount on camera, to 1' x 1' units that seem like they could burn out your retinas. Sure, they also sell camera cradles, bags, and countless other production tools (all with a craftsman's approach to quality), but the lighting, that's worth a long look, because you'll never have to suffer under “hot lights” again if you go this route, not to mention these LED's are battery-powered and highly efficient, so that means no blown circuits with a few hot lights plugged in! Our go-to source for these units is Mac Business Solutions, which is a top-end boutique for all things mac (from computers to still gear to video, to, yes, even high end printers). Be sure to ask for Sonny, the owner, when you call.

Next was GoalZero which has some amazing portable battery power. We picked up a set of these packs, and have used them to power dying laptops, and hope to use them to power our ikan lights when they arrive! Not only can they provide a wide range of power, but they also have portable, small, and efficient solar panels to recharge your kit. No more looking for a shack with a bunch of car batteries when you're in the middle of nowhere to charge your gear. These babies do the trick.

Our last tech company that peaked our interest that we're featuring (trust us, there were many), is onOne Software. They launched Perfect Suite 6 on October 25, right before the show, and Brian Kraft, VP of Sales talked about how advanced this new version is, and we're a believer. The resizing, focal point features, and the portrait retouching capabilities make this thing a dream for those looking to save time. Further, there are plug-ins for both Lightroom and Aperture, so check the specs to see how these can integrate into working where you do, or, if you prefer, as a standalone application (or module of all of them combined.)

A worthwhile presentation was the always enlightening Sam Abell, who spoke at the Canon booth. If you missed (or didn't want to pay for the 3 hour seminar (which you should have if you'd have had the option), Sam Spoke for a brief period of time at the Canon stage, and if you couldn't make it to NYC, Canon was saavy enough to live-stream it. Suffice to say, I'm biased when it comes to Sam, but his stories are always so engaging and inspiring. Rumor has it he's in the Amazon working on a book project, so stay tuned.

All in all, I was impressed with the integration of the WPPI portion of the show, following the merger (or aquisition?) of WPPI by Neilsen/PDN, which was announced at the 2010 show. Well done, integrators. The show was, as always, not to be missed. If you did, don't miss it next year.


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