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May 29th, 2012

“What Buyers Want” Survey Released by PhotoShelter/Agency Access

What Photo Buyers Want

Buyers of photography rely most heavily on colleague recommendations when looking for new hires. Email promos are an equally important resource to buyers in finding hires as reps and agencies were. And a majority of buyers say their budgets have stabilized or are increasing. These and other tidbits are part of a new report that provides insight into how photographers can best market their work to clients, which was recently released by portfolio Web site company PhotoShelter, and Agency Access, the creative industry marketing company. The report is free for anyone willing to register an email address with the companies.

“What Buyers Want From Photographers” was generated using data from a 25-question survey that went out to Agency Access’ database of photography clients, which includes art buyers, creatives and photo editors. According to the report, 1,000 photography clients answered the survey. The topics addressed in the report include: Where buyers search for photographers to hire and images to license; what personal characteristics and business skills buyers look for in photographers; information about typical mistakes photographers make in marketing their work; and tips for creating a good Web site.

The report also presents data on which social media sources buyers use to find photographers to hire, but its value is undermined somewhat by another section of the report that suggests that only 9 percent of the respondents use social media to find photographers to hire.

Additionally, “What Buyers Want” includes interviews with buyers from agencies GSD&M and JWT, a photo editor from Billboard, and an art director from Random House book publishers. Other clients contributed more specific suggestions. For instance a photo editor at Men’s Health provided tips on email marketing, and Real Simple‘s photo editor made Web site suggestions like, “Don’t hide your personal work.”

Anonymous quotes that appear throughout the report are interesting to read even if they are only one person’s (unattributed) opinion. For instance an art buyer at an agency laments tricks photographers use to try and “outsmart” him/her—for example into thinking they have already spoken with one another.

To receive the report visit: http://www.photoshelter.com/mkt/research/2012-photo-buyers-survey

May 4th, 2012

New Pinterest Credit Feature Does Little to Protect Pinterest Users

Several days ago, Pinterest announced a new feature that automatically credits and links back to content that Pinterest users re-post from Vimeo, YouTube, Behance and Flickr. The announcement was part of Pinterest’s campaign to counter perceptions that copyright infringement is part of its corporate DNA. But the announcement amounted to little more than window dressing, and could give Pinterest users a false sense of security.

Pinterest, as we pointed out in a recent story, puts all the liability for infringement squarely in the lap of its users. The service enables those users to “pin” content from anywhere on the web onto a virtual bulletin board. Average users don’t realize that what Pinterest encourages them to do–copy and re-publish digital content without permission–is a copyright violation. Not surprisingly, Pinterest doesn’t go out of its way to make that clear to its users.

The automatic credits and link-backs to Vimeo, YouTube, Behance and Flickr don’t give users any added protection. For one thing, content owners post videos and photos to those four sites expecting–no, encouraging–others to share their content. In other words, most people who use YouTube, etc. would sooner thank Pinterest users for re-posting (“pinning”) their digital files than sue them for infringement.

A real accomplishment on Pinterest’s part would be to add a feature that automatically credits and links back to every item re-posted by a Pinterest user. That might satisfy content owners who don’t mind others re-posting their photos, etc. as long as they credit the owners. And it might help people who object to having their content used without permission discover the unauthorized uses and put a stop to it: They could send a take-down notice to Pinterest, and demand payment from the Pinterest user who violated their copyright.

That would be bad for Pinterest’s business, of course. But Pinterest risks little by its very limited credit/link feature, which could ultimately hurt Pinterest users by sending them a dangerous message: that it’s OK to “pin” content without permission as long as you give the copyright owner credit.

That isn’t the case, as any copyright lawyer will tell you. Copyright law says you can’t re-publish a work without permission from the copyright holder. Giving the owner credit is no substitute for permission. Pinterest still has much work to inform its users of their legal risks, and help those users protect themselves.

Related:
Copyright Watch: The Liability-Proof World of Pinterest

March 1st, 2012

Photo Editor Explains How Vintage Photos Lead the New York Times Onto Tumblr

Earlier this week The New York Times made its first foray onto Tumblr with The Lively Morgue, which showcases vintage photographs from the newspaper’s print archive, which is known as “the morgue” for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, according to the Times.

“[Launching a Tumblr blog] made sense for a lot of reasons,” says deputy photo editor Meaghan Looram, who was one of several Times staffers who worked on the project. “Obviously Tumblr is a super visual platform and on top of that, from what I understand, vintage photography is really popular on Tumblr.”

In addition to showing the scans of vintage photographic prints, The Lively Morgue’s custom design also allows viewers to inspect the backs of the prints, where they can see editors’ markings, original captions and other information about the images, and the way the newsroom trafficked and filed them.

“For someone that’s not interested in that level of detail they can appreciate the fronts of the images,” Looram notes, “but I think [showing the backs of the prints] gives the project a really nice level of sophistication and added value. And for people that are interested in photo archiving or photo history or the history of the paper, I think it’s just a really interesting level of detail.”

Through its first few days, the Times‘ Tumblr has featured photographs from the 1930s, 50s, 60s and 70s, ranging in subject matter from sports to fashion to crime. As of Wednesday night, the blog already had roughly 10,000 followers, Looram says. Several of the images had hundreds of notes and reblogs.

Looram notes there is some concern over the amount of control the Times is relinquishing, because Tumblr allows for rapid sharing and dissemination of content. To encourage people who like the images they see on Tumblr to buy prints, The Lively Morgue features a link to a Times store where prints can be ordered. “In a lot of cases these are prints that you can buy through our store, so we’re hoping that people will do that,” Looram explains. “But I think that that’s something that we have to be concerned about even with images on our Web site.”

Though The Lively Morgue links to a print store, Looram says the project was “primarily motivated by an interest in editorially getting these images seen, and also finding an appropriate foray for us into Tumblr.”

The project, which was based on a series of posts picture editor Darcy Eveleigh created on the Times‘ photojournalism blog, Lens, originated with Heena Koh, a member of the Times’ digital design team, and Alexis Mainland, the social media editor. Looram says everyone working on it is doing it “in addition to their own duties” because they are excited about the platform and the opportunity to share the archive.

The social media success of the Lens blog, and of the Times‘ photography in general, also generated energy, Looram says. “I think we’re very encouraged by the popularity of the Lens blog and the amount of sharing in social networks about our photography and photography that we’re highlighting, so that’s definitely encouraging to us and probably was a good indicator for the level of interest we would see in a project like The Lively Morgue.”

January 6th, 2012

Now on Instagram: President Obama

Instagram, the free photo editing and sharing app for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, keeps growing in popularity, and now President Obama’s re-election campaign has joined in. On Tuesday, Obama 2012 joined the service to share photos from the campaign trail, under the name Barack Obama. Here’s a news story about it on SocialTimes.com.

If you have an Instagram account, you can join the more than 37,000 folks who have already started following the stream via @barackobama. Don’t expect any wildly artistic photos — the few photos posted so far include  a predictable podium photo and an image of the campaign headquarters, shot on an iPhone. No use of those retro-looking Instagram filters yet. And the comments are less concerned with esthetics than with political rants. (People, people: Have you heard of spell check?)

This is just the latest foray into online photo sharing for this President.  Photos from election night 2008 proved hugely popular on Flickr, and the White House Photo Office updates its Flickr stream regularly.

October 28th, 2011

PPE Panel: Photogs Ignore Online Pub Opportunities at Their Own Peril

During a seminar titled “The New World of Online Magazines and Curator Web Sites” this afternoon at PDN PhotoPlus Expo, photographer Sophia Wallace posed a question to photographers who’ve been hesitant to harness the full power of the internet for fear that their work might be stolen: Should you be more afraid of image theft, or of working in obscurity?

This rather direct question, which had resonated with Wallace after she heard it at another talk recently, gets to the heart of the decision that photographers must make in today’s market. You can embrace online publishing on blogs, online magazines, Tumblr pages and the myriad other platforms on which people are looking at imagery these days, or you can keep your work to yourself.

Suffice it to say that nobody in the audience was interested in the latter option. But in case they were, Wallace and fellow photographer Manjari Sharma shared stories about their own experiences that made a strong case for diving headlong into promoting one’s work online.

By getting their work featured by online platforms, such as those run by moderator Stella Kramer (StellaZine) and panelists Julie Grahame (aCurator) and Michael Itkoff (Daylight), each of the photographers had built momentum for bodies of work that eventually led to concrete achievements like exhibitions, advertising commissions and essential project funding.

After having her work circulate one image at a time across various online publications (and in a couple of print magazines), Wallace received what she termed “the email she’d been waiting for.” It was from a curator asking if she would show her work in a three-person show at Colgate University’s Clifford Gallery with photographers Catherine Opie and Jo Ann Santangelo. During her presentation Wallace also showed how, through Google analytics, she could track who was looking at her site and where they came from. It was amazing, she said, to realize that people all over the world were looking at her photographs.

Sharma showed two projects that she’d promoted online. A series of portraits of people taken in the shower in her Brooklyn apartment was discovered by art directors at the ad agency JWT in Delhi, which lead to a commission to replicate that work for ads for a German maker of shower heads that was expanding their business in India. Sharma’s photographs appeared on billboards in 23 cities, she said.

After she created a well-produced Kickstarter video to raise funds for her project Darshan, several photo blogs and other online publications wrote about the work. She ended up raising $26,000 of funding over the course of three months.

Each of the panelists encouraged the audience members to build networks online through Facebook and Twitter, and to help promote other photographers whose work they appreciate. Wallace made the point that opportunities for group exhibitions often come from other artists, and introductions to clients often come from fellow photographers.

Kramer also made another useful point for photographers who might still be hesitant to publish their work online: “The more you are associated with your work, the harder it is to steal it,” she said.

August 25th, 2011

You Just Found Out Your Subject Is a Bully. Do You Shoot? Or Cancel?

Last week, photographer Jennifer McKendrick of Indiana County, Pennsylvania discovered that four high school seniors that she was scheduled to shoot for their yearbook had been bullying a fellow student on Facebook. So McKendrick sent e-mails to the students canceling the shoots. She explained why, attached screen shots of the bullying comments they had made–and cc’d the students’ parents. (more…)

April 14th, 2011

Photogs Crowd-Sourcing a Global Map of Photo Book Stores

Photographer Matt Johnson and designer Wayne Ford, who operate the Web site Photo Book Club, have been hitting the social media channels asking for recommendations for great photo book stores around the world. They’re plugging the recommendations into a Google map, which they aim to turn into a comprehensive resource. They are up to 50 78 stores in several countries.

Check out the map to make suggestions or to find out where to look for books on your next trip:

http://photobookclub.org/index.php/resources/

March 1st, 2011

Did Twitter Just Save 10 Million Sygma Images?

Rumors circulated on Twitter over the weekend that about 10 million archival images from the collection of the defunct French picture agency Sygma were about to be destroyed. The images have been under the control of a liquidation trustee since Corbis, which bought Sygma in 1999, finally got fed up last May with financial losses and lawsuits over missing images, and walked away.

Reports of the impending destruction of the images alarmed photographers and their trade groups, which have been eager to spread word that photographers with images in the collection should claim them. But Corbis spokesperson Dan Perlet says it was “a storm in a tea cup” swirling around a false rumor. “These things get started on a Friday afternoon when everyone is bored and on Twitter,” he says. Perlet says that Stéphane Gorrias, the liquidation trustee, “has always said to us that he had no intention of destroying [the images.]”
(more…)

February 28th, 2011

Free Undergrad-Level Photo Courses Offered Online and in App by UK Professor

A photography professor at Coventry University in England is publishing his undergraduate-level photography classes online and in an app, making instruction and education available for free to photographers all over the world.

Picbod (Picturing the Body) and Phonar (Photography and Narrative) are, respectively, second- and third year undergraduate classes taught by photographer Jonathan Worth. Students who are not enrolled in Coventry University can follow the courses online, and can also choose to participate by asking questions, making comments and submitting photographic work they do based on class assignments. Those who choose to follow the classes can also listen to lessons and guest lectures from photographers like Elinor Carucci and Grant Scott. Comments, and links to articles and information of interest, are also shared amongst the students via the #picbod and #phonar Twitter hashtags, and via course Facebook pages, further fostering the community feel of the courses. All of the material also lives on the Web sites and in the app, so outside students can take the courses at their own pace. The material will be updated as each new class at Coventry University is taught. (more…)