November 25th, 2015

Maximize Your Print-on-Site Potential: Tips from Event Photographer Keith B. Dixon

Sponsored by DNP Photo Imaging


Photo © Keith B. Dixon

As an event photographer, offering print-on-site (POS) is an essential part of the business. But the technical and practical execution of POS depends on the site, the available technology, and the client’s needs. San Francisco Bay Area-based photographer Keith B. Dixon specializes in event photography and offers the following five tips to ensure every job is a success:

1. Determine the client’s specific technology needs for POS first. “Only then can you make the right decision about how you’re going to apply the printer technology,” Dixon says. For example, if a client with a limited budget can’t afford a print tech, it’s best to use a wireless print server without a computer. Or, if it is a large-volume event, using hardwire technology is preferable in order to avoid bottlenecks during batch printing. “You have to understand how the technology is going to serve the client first, and then you,” Dixon adds.


POS at a client’s wedding / Photo © Keith B. Dixon

2. Traditional backdrops and step-and-repeat banners command top dollar over photo booths, but they are more difficult to manage. To overcome the challenges such setups present, Dixon recommends, “developing a defined workflow between the camera, computer and printer.” He says: “Work with a person who understands how to manage the printer loads and crowd. Simple workflows are best in large-volume POS situations. I use image management software, such as Adobe Lightroom, to organize, process and crop photos on-site to print.”


A holiday backdrop / Photo © Keith B. Dixon

3. Use a printer that produces beautiful prints quickly in the formats your clients want. “You have to tune into the small details of your workflow to determine whether a printer is going to work for your business. I use DNP’s DS620A because it’s an extremely well built dye-sublimation printer. It solves problems right out of the box because it is powerful, yet easy to transport, set up and use,” Dixon says. Quick problem solving is indeed this printer’s specialty: It is remarkably fast, making prints with crisp colors in 8.3 seconds (up to 400 prints per hour) in formats ranging from a 2- x 6-inch photo-booth fun strip to 6- x 8-inch enlargements. It’s also environmentally friendly.


DNP Photo Imaging’s DS620A printer. / Photo © Keith B. Dixon

4. Make sure your images are properly exposed and composed when offering POS. “Use a tripod, at least 500W/s lights and meter from one edge of the backdrop to the other,” Dixon says. “Keep the exposure on your backdrop within a half or a third stop all the way across, so the light is even. To eliminate shadows cast on the background, use at least 60-inch umbrellas or a five-foot octa light bank. Get your light up high and angle it down for people wearing glasses to reduce reflections and shadows in-group photos. If you don’t have these types of light modifiers available, slow down your shutter speed to let in more ambient light to reduce your shadows.” He also says to look out for motion blur: “Avoid using shallow depth of fields like f/2.8 or 5.6—they won’t work well for multi-row group shots when you print them. The DS620A reproduction is accurate so if you print a less-than-stellar exposure, your print is going to reflect that.”

5. Always have a backup plan. “Bring backup printers, computers, media, cords, and software to all POS jobs and use cloud-based products,” Dixon says. “I prepare all my gear in detail the week of an event, yet no matter how well you plan, human error and technological issues can still happen. On a recent job, I forgot the crate of computers, so we had to borrow a laptop from the client and install the printer drivers and software as we were shooting the event. Fortunately, we didn’t miss a beat: all the software I use is cloud-based, so we were able to pull it down and install it flawlessly.”

To learn more about the DNP DS620A printer, visit

November 25th, 2015

After Staged-Photo Debacle, World Press Changes Rules

The 2016 World Press Photo contest will be carried out with new rules, guidelines and procedures, organizers announced today in Amsterdam. The changes include a new code of ethics, backed by more specific rules against photo manipulation, as well as other changes.

The new code of ethics reflects the World Press Photo Foundation’s efforts at reform and transparency, undertaken in the wake of a photo manipulation scandal last year that led to the disqualification of 20 percent of the final round entries, and the revocation of a first-place prize in the Contemporary Issues category.

“We want the audience to have trust in the accuracy of the pictures that win awards and are shown in our exhibition, so, for the first time, the contest has a code of ethics that sets out what we expect from entrants,” World Press Photo managing director Lars Boering said in a prepared statement.

Entries for the 2016 World Press Photo competition are due by January 13, 2016, at noon Central European Time.

The new code of ethics calls on photographers entering the contest not to stage events, and to avoid being misled into photographing events staged by others; to make no “material” changes to the content of their images; to provide accurate caption information; to edit stories in a manner that is accurate and fair; and to be open and transparent about how they made the photos they enter in the World Press Photo contest.

In support of that code, the new rules define illegal manipulation as “staging or re-enacting events” and “adding or removing content from the image.”

For example, World Press Photo says it is not acceptable to remove physical marks on the body, small objects in the pictures, reflected light spots, shadows, or extraneous items on a picture’s border that could not be removed by cropping. It is also unacceptable to add elements by cloning  highlights, painting in object details, photo montage, or replicating material on the border of a picture to make a neat crop possible.

But “cropping that removes extraneous details is permitted” and “sensor dust or scratches on scans of negatives can be removed,” the 2016 rules say. They also say that “processing by itself” does not constitution manipulation. Specifically, “adjustments of color of conversion to grayscale that do not alter content are permitted,” the new rules say.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 24th, 2015

Introducing the PDN, Rangefinder and DPReview Gift Guide

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 11.48.21 AM

Our team at PDN and Rangefinder has put together our first annual Gift Guide in collaboration with DPReview. It’s the perfect companion for this holiday season, and it’s available for free online. Pick out some products for fellow photographers and filmmakers, or drop some hints for your own friends and family. Products available on Amazon include direct URLs to streamline your shopping experience.

In addition to our own roundup, the editors from DPReview have supplied their own list of essential items for image-makers. We also invited creatives from New York, Rolling Stone, Tiny Atlas Quarterly and TIME to share what’s on their wish lists.

To view the digital edition of the Gift Guide, click here.

November 24th, 2015

How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Instagram?



That, according to social media analytics firm Locowise, is the optimum number of hashtags an Instagram post should have to earn the most engagement.

Locowise derived that figure by examining over 1,500 active Instagram accounts that posted 135,000+ posts in the 3-month period and had 300+ million followers combined. Of those, nearly 14 percent of all posts had no hashtags, while those with three had the highest level of engagement. However, those with no hashtags had just a slightly lower engagement rate than those with three.

Indeed, Locowise finds engagement rates decline as you tack on additional hashtags above three.

On Twitter, the firm found that tweets with no hashtags outperformed those with hashtags. This despite the fact that we have Twitter to thank for hash-tagging in the first place.

The moral of the story? A hashtag or three will help you attract eyeballs on Instagram, but not Twitter.

Read More:

Using This Instagram App? Delete It

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram

November 23rd, 2015

Back to Print: The Making of Ian Spanier’s Promo Magazine

Sponsored by Blurb

Ian Spanier is a photographic chameleon. One day he’s shooting a magazine cover of UFC superwoman Ronda Rousey, and the next he’s shooting advertisements of Danskin ballerinas or U.S. Navy servicemen in the Gulf of Oman. While he always saw his eclectic work as a strength, it often confused clients. “For a long time, I struggled to explain that I shoot a lot of different things. People would wonder which photographer they were going to get when they hired me,” he says.

Spanier decided that he needed a new promotional tool that would champion his diverse photographic voice—the traditional 5 x 7-inch promo cards that most photographers send out weren’t cutting it.


IAN, issues 1 through 4 / Photos © Ian Spanier

To come up with a solution, Spanier brought in Warren Mason, a veteran creative director and designer. The two weren’t brainstorming long before the idea hit them. Spanier had spent more than a decade at magazines like Esquire, GQ and Men’s Journal before becoming a full-time photographer. Mason had even more experience in publishing. The two realized that a custom magazine printed-on-demand was the ideal format to engage clients with Spanier’s voice and versatility. “Once we decided on a magazine, the ideas started flowing,” Spanier says.

First, Spanier and Mason decided how to design and print the magazine—Blurb, the creative self-publishing platform, was the first and only choice. The printing quality and the paper offered by Blurb immediately stood up to the discerning eyes of both Spanier and Mason. Blurb’s plug-in for Adobe InDesign made it simple to create and upload original layouts, and the streamlined print-on-demand capabilities met their needs. Finally, Blurb’s Economy Magazine printing option allowed Spanier to make the magazine the length he wanted—from 20 pages to 240 pages—while keeping the price affordable.

“There was no thought to do it with any company other than Blurb. Their paper and printing quality stands out. They stand behind their product and work with me to make sure it looks the way I want,” Spanier says.

The genius of the magazine is in the details. While it is called IAN, the magazine is a true collaboration that joins Spanier’s photography with Mason’s design and editor Brian Dawson’s copy. Advertisements come from actual advertisements from Spanier’s ad work, while editorial spreads are “features” that Spanier and Mason create from Spanier’s wide array of work. Each issue has a theme, a knockout cover photo, and recurring “columns,” like “Behind the Scenes,” which gives readers a peak into Spanier’s copiously annotated shoot notebooks. Another recurring column is “Client Speak,” where he asks one of his clients to provide their own testimonies.


An editorial spread in IAN. / Photo © Ian Spanier

“I want the magazine to help clients and potential clients understand who I am as a photographer and what I am like to work with,” Spanier explains. “Each aspect of the magazine is meant to tell viewers who I am.”

Since IAN began in late 2014, Spanier and Mason have published four issues—one for each season—and the plan is to continue to do so in the coming years. Each new issue focuses on a different aspect of Spanier’s photography, from travel to sports to portraiture, and work is chosen from Spanier’s portfolio to reflect that. The magazine evolves each issue, with new columns being added as Mason and Spanier come up with new ideas. In recent issues, Spanier has shot entire editorial features solely for the magazine. For Issue 3, Spanier worked with make-up artist Michelle Coursey to shoot portraits mimicking a set of vintage 1920s-era mug shots that had gone viral on the Internet earlier this year.

“I’ve always been a photographer that pushes myself to do personal work. I think it’s important so that people can see your vision as opposed to those assignments when you are solely completing someone else’s,” Spanier says.


IAN editorial spreads and a client-testimonial page. / Photos © Ian Spanier

Though Spanier is able to publish multiple issues annually thanks to the ease of production, he says it’s especially important for photographers to connect with clients at the year’s close. “I know it’s pretty ambitious putting out a quarterly issue,” he says. “For photographers who can’t do so, I would recommend producing a magazine at the end of the year. It’s always a great time of year to make sure clients and potential clients get a little reminder what you can do for them, and it doubles as a holiday gift.”

IAN gives Spanier another way to communicate with clients, complementing his marketing on Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and Facebook, and in e-mail campaigns. Spanier sends out personal emails to each member of his extensive 2,000+ person mailing list of clients and potential clients to give them sneak peeks of the next issue of IAN, to send them electronic versions housed by Blurb and Issuu and to solicit feedback. For Spanier, it’s an excuse to check in every couple of months with people he works with and wants to work with in the future.

The response has been very positive. “When people write me back, their response, across the board, is: ‘Wow, this is great. How did you come up with it?’ People love to ask questions about it,” Spanier says.

The effect is even more pronounced in person. When Spanier takes personal meetings, he always brings copies of IAN along. After walking photo editors, art buyers or creative teams through his extensive portfolio, he closes by handing everyone at the meeting a copy of IAN printed by Blurb. Getting in-person meetings is hard, according to Spanier, so when you have face time, you want to make sure clients won’t forget you. For Spanier, IAN does the trick.

IAN Cover.indd

Ronda Rousey featured in IAN, issue 1. / Photos © Ian Spanier

“It’s a memorable product. People want to know how I made it,” Spanier says. “Everything is digital these days—having something tactile that I can hand to someone as a ‘thank you’ and a product they keep on their shelf really makes a difference.”

Best of all, IAN has allowed Spanier to show off his versatility—what he thinks is his greatest asset—without confusing clients about the type of photographer he is.

“No one is confused anymore as to why I have so much different work mixed together,” Spanier says. “Instead of carrying around 45 pounds of portfolios, I bring an iPad and a few issues of my magazine, and people really understand my work.”

Get started on your own Blurb print magazine or book at

November 23rd, 2015

Reuters Rules Out RAW, Experts Respond


Reuters will no longer permit its photographers and freelancers to submit RAW images for publication.

As first reported by Michael Zhang, Reuters instituted the ban on RAW images in the name of both speed and ethics. Photographers will be required to submit original JPEGs instead.

“As photojournalists working for the world’s largest international multimedia news provider, Reuters Pictures photographers work in line with our Photographer’s Handbook and the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles,” a Reuters spokesperson told us via email. 

“As eyewitness accounts of events covered by dedicated and responsible journalists, Reuters Pictures must reflect reality,” the spokesperson stated. “While we aim for photography of the highest aesthetic quality, our goal is not to artistically interpret the news. Speed is also very important to us. We have therefore asked our photographers to skip labour and time consuming processes to get our pictures to our clients faster.”

While RAW images provide far more latitude for post-process manipulation, those edits are also harder to disguise. Edits to JPEG images, however, are easier to mask and most pro cameras have JPEG profiles which can boost contrast and saturation without ever needing post process manipulation–which was one of the reasons World Press Photo changed its submission rules in 2015 to require only RAW image submissions for most categories. “The techniques used to reveal JPEG forgeries are not very reliable,” Jessica Fridrich, a professor at the T.J. Watson School of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Binghamton, told us in the spring for our story on catching image manipulators.

Reuters has in the past used software developed by image forensics experts Hany Farid and Kevin Conner (elements of which are available at izitrue) to verify the authenticity and integrity of JPEG images. Connor told us he wasn’t sure if the software was currently being used by Reuters. When asked how Reuters would ensure the integrity of JPEG images, the spokesperson declined further comment.

“It sounds like a knee-jerk reaction attempting to create a solution to a problem that isn’t really a solution,” said Sean Elliot, chair of the Ethics Committee of the National Press Photographers Association. “If the problem is photographers who don’t understand basic ethical standards of not altering images, then eliminating the use of RAW files will not actually solve the problem….The ease of post-processing with RAW files as compared to JPEGs is certainly real, but I don’t see this as addressing the deeper issues any better than applying a code of ethics.”

The move by Reuters, while abrupt, is not surprising. The manipulation of photojournalistic images has been a hot topic since World Press Photo disqualified 22 percent of images submitted to its 2015 contest–more than double the number of images that were disqualified in 2014. In a recent panel discussion hosted by Adobe during PhotoPlus Expo, New York Times photojournalist Lynsey Addario said she was shocked by how fellow photographers shooting the same scene would turn in heavily processed images that took liberties with the reality she saw before her eyes.

November 20th, 2015

NYT Mag Hires Male Photographer for Sexism in Hollywood Cover Story

This week's New York Times Magazine cover, featuring portraits by Art Streiber.

This week’s New York Times Magazine cover, featuring portraits by Art Streiber.

For a cover story this week by Maureen Dowd about how challenging it is for women to build a career in the male-dominated world of Hollywood, The New York Times Magazine needed portraits of 60 female directors, actors and executives. They hired a male photographer to shoot the portraits.

To be sure, that photographer—Art Streiber—is a renowned editorial portrait photographer. But women photographers have been expressing their disappointment on social media over the irony of the Times Magazine’s decision. “There are actual women photographers based in L.A. who shoot great portraits,” wrote Jill Greenberg on Instagram. Greenberg is a New York-based editorial and commercial photographer who has spoken out against sexism in photography. “It just makes no sense for this story. Sadly though, the photo industry is exactly the same as the film industry and women just aren’t the go-to shooters.”

The New York Times Magazine Director of Photography Kathy Ryan told PDN that she understands that women photographers might look at the situation and be discouraged. “But I don’t think that they should feel that because this particular story didn’t have a woman photographer assigned to it, that there aren’t opportunities for women photographers in this magazine.” She points out that the other major story in this week’s issue was photographed by Stephanie Sinclair, and that two weeks ago the cover story on displaced people–which Ryan calls “one of the biggest ever” assignments for the magazine—was photographed by Lynsey Addario.

Ryan says the idea of having a woman photographer shoot this week’s cover was discussed briefly, but they quickly moved on to thinking Streiber was the right person for the assignment, which required as many as ten to 20 shots a day, and had a challenging deadline. “It was clearly going to call for somebody very nimble and fast and versatile, and we thought of Art. We weren’t thinking about gender, we were just thinking about, ‘How do we pull this off?’ And he came to mind and I think he did a terrific job.”

The decision making is “always about trying to figure out for a given project who would be the right person based on the look of the pictures, the artistry, the eye, the visual sensibility as well as experience,” Ryan adds.

In the article, “The Women of Hollywood Speak Out,” Dowd writes that one executive told her: “A lot of [women] haven’t tried hard enough. We’re tough about it. It’s a hundred-year-old business, founded by a bunch of old Jewish European men who did not hire anybody of color, no women agents or executives. We’re still slow at anything but white guys.”

Do women photographers face similar challenges? “I would say yes, they do,” Ryan acknowledges. “One of the things that’s always surprising is when you see how many women photographers graduate from the various photo schools and photo programs and then ten years on, not as many stay in the field. So there are certainly some disparities still.”

That The New York Times Magazine, a client everyone wants to work with, didn’t hire a woman to shoot a cover story about women fighting for a voice in a male-dominated industry may be a missed opportunity for a symbolic gesture of solidarity.

But Ryan says she doesn’t want women photographers to “think that somehow there aren’t opportunities [at the magazine], because I feel very passionately that there are, and that’s important to us: To have women’s points of view, that diversity, that range in our pages is important.”

Related: Photographer Maggie Steber on Women, Minorities, and How to Nurture Talent
Why All The Articles in PDN’s New Issue Are About Women Photographers
How One Magazine Strives for Gender Balance in Assignments
Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?

November 19th, 2015

Sponsored: Thomas Roma: In the Vale of Cashmere

Steven Kasher Gallery is proud to present Thomas Roma: In the Vale of Cashmere. This exhibition of Roma’s most recent project consists of an intricate sequence of 75 black and white portraits and landscapes photographed in a secluded section of Prospect Park where black gay men cruise for sexual partners. This is Roma’s first major New York exhibition of new photographs since his acclaimed solo exhibition Come Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art in 1996. The book In the Vale of Cashmere will be published by powerHouse Books in conjunction with the exhibition.

Thomas Roma Untitled (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2011 Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2011 11 x 14 in Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

Photo by Thomas Roma – Untitled (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2011
Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2011
11 x 14 in, Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

Roma is one of the most critically acclaimed photographers of our times. A Bard of Brooklyn, Roma is a poet-photographer who has been making profound images about the people and places of his native city since 1969. Fourteen books of his photographs have been published, almost all of them taken in Brooklyn. With In the Vale of Cashmere, Roma brings us into a little known Eden, one that has been quietly thriving for decades. Roma’s portraits of men set in an uncanny urban wooded landscape carry a history of New York and Brooklyn that predates and parallels the gay rights and civil rights movements. Roma brings us into a secret world, giving us the opportunity to consider the individual with sensitivity and respect while also engaging in a larger discussion of race, gender, sexuality, and class in an increasingly gentrified New York.

In 2008, Roma decided to bring his camera to the Vale of Cashmere, a section of Prospect Park he had frequented decades ago. Over the course of years of weekly visits, he approached the men there, introducing himself and explaining why he was taking pictures. Nine out of ten times Roma’s request to make a portrait was declined; it was from that tenth ask that the intense portraits in this exhibition come. In the Vale of Cashmere was created as a memoriam to Carl Spinella, one of Roma’s closest friends, who died in Tom’s arms of AIDS in 1992.

"Untitled" (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2009 Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2009 11 x 14 in Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

“Untitled” (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2009 Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2009, 11 x 14 in Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

Roma first met Spinella in 1974; a year later they were roommates living on Dean Street in Brooklyn. Spinella had been instrumental in bringing Roma to his native Sicily in 1978 so that Roma could discover his ancestral roots.  (These images were later published as the book Sicilian Passage.)  Their bond was so close that Tom often would drive Spinella to the Vale of Cashmere and sometimes pick him up at the drop-off site, an act of faith in a time before cell phones, when who knows what could happen in the woods.   It was to those woods that Roma returned alone in 1996. Tom’s son Giancarlo (named after Spinella) was a baseball player who played up to 120 games a year, many at the Parade Grounds in Prospect Park right across the street from the Vale of Cashmere. Roma noticed his son sometimes played better when his father was not around, and started taking walks in the Vale in memory of Spinella. Eventually his photography began there.

Thomas Roma: In the Vale of Cashmere will be on view from October 29th – December 19th, 2015.

Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 515 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001. For more information visit:



November 19th, 2015

You’re Being Ripped Off: PPA Survey Finds Widespread Copyright Infringement

Mike Seyfang | Flickr

Mike Seyfang | Flickr

Results from a recent Professional Photographers of America (PPA) survey likely won’t surprise many photographers.

In short, two thirds (67 percent) of the 2,000 photographers questioned by PPA reported having their images used without their permission. Of those who had their images ripped off, more than half had multiple instances of unauthorized image use.

“These victims of infringement are mom and pop businesses,” said PPA CEO David Trust in a statement announcing the findings. “The income they lose from just one infringement can determine whether or not a hard-working photographer gets to take her first family vacation in five years, sign her child up for little league or piano lessons, or pay the mortgage. These may not be huge amounts of money to some, but they make a big difference to a small business owner.”

According to PPA, over 96 percent of pro photographers surveyed don’t regularly register their copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office despite nearly unanimous (99 percent) agreement with the statement that copyright protection is an important aspect of their careers.

For photographers looking for tips on how to prevent authorized use of images, the PPA suggested the following:

  • Have a conversation with clients to educate them on photographic copyright and what they can and cannot do with your photos.
  • Mark all work with a copyright notice (i.e. ©YEAR. Studio Name) where it will be displayed publicly, especially online.
  • Register all work with the U.S. Copyright Office (
  • Stay up-to-date on copyright law and potential changes.
  • For more information on how to protect images, download PPA’s free Copyright Kit.

More on Copyright Protection:

New Plugin Brings Copyright Registration to Lightroom

How and Why to Make Copyright Registration Part of Your Workflow

5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Sue a Copycat

November 18th, 2015

Details Magazine to Close After December Issue

The November 2015 issue of Details featuring actor Norman Reedus, photographed by Mark Seliger.

The November 2015 issue of Details featuring actor Norman Reedus, photographed by Mark Seliger.

Condé Nast will shutter Details, the men’s general interest magazine, after it releases the December issue, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Condé Nast president Bob Sauerberg, who will take over as CEO in January, 2015, told The Wall Street Journal “that at least 20% of the 60 staffers who work at Details will find other jobs inside Condé Nast.”

Details photo director Ashley Horne told PDN via email that she and photo editor Stacey DeLorenzo would be looking for new jobs “and are both available for freelance work while we explore future options.”

Mark Seliger has photographed a majority of Details’ covers in the past twelve months. Greg Williams and Katja Rahlwes have also shot covers for the magazine this year.

Related: Approximately 180 National Geographic Employees Being Laid Off, Others Offered Buyouts