Send Free Photo eCards!…

You may have noticed a few changes and some new features on our ever morphing website. The latest is the ability to send FREE Photo eCards!

If you like an image on our website and would like to send it to a friend, family member, or really anyone for that matter, it’s FREE and just a few clicks away. Maybe you want to send someone a Birthday Wish or just share an image to brighten their day, here is how it works:

Simply:

a. go to a portfolio gallery on our website
b. click on the image you want to send
c. in the lower left corner you’ll see a shopping cart icon with the word “purchase” next to it – click on it.
(don’t worry! it’s FREE to send an eCard!)
d. in the pop-up window – select “eCard” on the bottom menu bar
e. in the next window, enter your name, your email, the recipients email, and your personal message
(no need to worry here either! we won’t share any info with anyone.. it’s yours after all!)
f. click “Send eCard” in the lower right corner and voila!

That’s it! Your personalized eCard is sent AND you will get notified when your recipient opens it!

Your recipient can even pay it forward and send their own free eCard from right within the message you sent them!

So go ahead and brighten someone’s day today and let them know you are thinking about them!

Here are some corresponding screen shots that show the process…

go to a portfolio gallery on our website

click on the image you want to send

in the lower left corner you’ll see a shopping cart icon with the word “purchase” next to it – click on it.

in the pop-up window – select “eCard” on the bottom menu bar

in the next window, enter your name, your email, the recipients email, and your personal message

click “Send eCard” in the lower right corner and voila!

Done!

World’s Top 10 Fashion Photographers 2018…

Is it Photo Contest Season or what? (Well, in reality, when is it not?)

It was a bit humbling, when this past week, we found out that we are a finalist in One Eyeland’s World’s Top 10 Fashion Photographers for 2018. You probably would not think of me as a fashion photographer, but in reality, that is how I started my professional career back in 19 something or other.

Recently we collaborated with our amazing stylist Stacy Quackenbush on a feature article for Style Loves Adventure entitled “Kings of Music” which highlighted some of the top movers and shakers in the Club / DJ / Music Festival world. We brainstormed with my partner Jeremy Cowin over pizza and beer one night and walked away with a clear vision of the imagery we wanted to produce, inspired by looking back to 70’s / Funk.

The shoot itself was an absolute blast and the artists we featured (Mario Melendez, Jamesen Re, Dede Flemming) were complete sports and totally played along. It was a day of intense fun, collaboration, and in the end some winning imagery. I love working with good people.. that is REALLY what is is all about and when you get to the end of a project and have something you love to show for it, really what more can you ask for!

You can check out the other finalists that were honored at One Eyeland’s Website.

Mario Melendez, Jamesen Re, Dede Flemming, © Dana Hursey Photography

Finalist Imagery from One Eyeland’s “World’s Top 10 Fashion Photographers”

International Spring Flower Competition…

Photograph of Billy Buttons against a white background - © 2018 Dana Hursey Photography

Billy Buttons | Craspedia – Winning Image from Artists Info – Spring Flower Competition

You might have seen recently that we have been working on a special project entitled Botanicals. In the coming weeks and months you’ll be able to see us add imagery to this collection by visiting the web gallery on our site.

In the meantime we are thrilled to have been selected as one of the 15 winners in an international art competition entitled “Spring Flowers”, juried and curated by Artists Info – A Global Artists Guide. You can see a virtual gallery tour of all of the winners here.

Our winning image (“Billy Buttons” – seen above) is one of our recent creations for this new series. Check out the rest and come back to see, as we add more! OR reach out to us and tell us what you’d like to see next!

5 Reasons Every Business Needs Professional Photos

by: Ashley Lipman

Collateral Benefits

Photography is important for a lot of reasons. Beyond the old maxim pertaining to information capture that most are familiar with—a picture says a thousand words—photography can have collateral benefits to your business that you may not have expected. This is one of many reasons you should have professional photography solutions silhouetting your operations. Following are five additional reasons worth considering:

  1.    Making The Right Impression Among Peers And Clients
  2.    Properly Showcasing Your Brand
  3.    Record Keeping
  4.    Organic Marketing Potential
  5.    Facilitation Of Employee Morale

Portrait of a small business owner.

Making The Right Impression Among Peers And Clients

This is the first and most notable benefit of professional photography. You want to present yourself well! You want to put your best foot forward, and make an excellent impression! Pictures that have a professional veneer which cannot be denied are a great way to do this.

For clients who have never worked with you before, such photography gives them a point of reference in a subconscious way which makes them comfortable with your business. Peers see that you’re a force to be respected and reckoned with, and altogether such things can help you retain competitive edge.

Properly Showcasing Your Brand

Tied to impressions is showcasing. Have you ever seen a picture of a meal like a fast food burger, or a dessert? Those pictures aren’t done with a smartphone in some corner of a kitchen. They’re staged with pristine ingredients and and styled within an inch of their lives. The right lighting is apportioned, the right angles are used, in some cases water is spritzed on the right areas to connote freshness—you get the idea!

Every picture of a burger from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Burger King has had just this treatment. When it comes to your brand, be it culinary or technological, the same kind of thinking is fundamental in order to showcase what you provide in a qualitative, desirable way. A new trend today involves using Instagram stories to exposit a given brand. Post professional photos, and you could gain a following just by “looking good”.

Photograph of the perfect juicy cheeseburger.

Record Keeping

Pictures that have been professionally taken can help you to define an era, identify employees, and keep track of things. This is a strange example, but there is a film called The Shining in which this is dramatically demonstrated.

Basically, a guy goes to curate a hotel in winter and gets cabin fever through the long lonely time with only his family. He goes on a crazed rampage and then dies in a frozen hedge maze. As the film ends, it is revealed that the same man was in a picture from a hundred years earlier, indicating he is either a ghost, or was possessed by one. Creepy!

Well, in a similar way, if you’ve got regular pictures of your brand, of your employees, of your management, of your varying production facilities, of upgrades, or newspaper clippings, etc., you can find secrets and forgotten information by perusing old photo albums. That information may not seem important, and for the most part may not be; but all you need is one picture with vital information to make a big impact.

Organic Marketing Potential

With the Internet of Things (IoT), Search Engine Optimization (SEO—here are ten considerable SEO tips), and Social Media Marketing (SMM), there is a lot of opportunity to reach a diverse body of viewers. If you’ve got engaging, professionally-done photos, you’re likely to increase your online visibility, which organically can make outbound marketing efforts more effective.

Facilitation Of Employee Morale

Last, but certainly not least, you want professionally done photos for the sake of your workers. If everything looks cheap or lackluster, employees will either believe you don’t care, or don’t have the resources, to do things better. If you’ve got professional photos, then they see that you value their business, and transitively, them.

Macro Photograph of the inside of a computer hard disk drive.

A Glimpse At The Future

A final reason to maintain professional photography in your regular operations regards remaining cutting edge. New means of photo capture and utility are being developed with regularity, and may come in handy down the line.

At photomodeler.com, you can find some very interesting solutions in terms of photography technology that can help you take professional photography to the next level; according to the site, “Using multiple photographs, we can compute the position of a point in 3D space by simple geometry…”

There are diverse uses for such tech, and they can be properly impactful to your business in facilitating the points outlined earlier, and in more dynamically exploiting photography.

 

International Color Awards – 11th Annual Edition

We picked up a couple of Honorable Mentions in the recent 11th Annual International Color Awards! This years specs were 5,642 entries were received from 73 countries! There is a slew of amazing imagery in this years gallery of winners. Head over here to check out the various galleries. Our wins were for Advertising for an image we did as part of a campaign for Lowe’s Home Improvement, and also in Wildlife for a personal portrait of one of my amazing rescue pups, Azzurro. This image was also featured in the “Something Personal” Exhibition for APA San Francisco and will also be included in this years “Off the Clock” Exhibition for APA Los Angeles (opening gala – Saturday April 21, 2018, 7:00pm – Free Event – Register Here!)

Photograph of an empty wall where photos use to hang showing that the paint has faded over time.

“The photos are moving with us. Not the Wall” © Dana Hursey Photography

Portrait of a white Siberian Husky / Samoyed mixed dog looking straight into camera

Azzurro © Dana Hursey Photography

 

Silliness on Set…

When we went to North Carolina to shoot a campaign for Lowe’s Home Improvement, most of us involved with the production were meeting each other in person for the first time. We were gong to be spending some long days together and while you can usually get a sense of peoples personalities over the phone, there is still the “unknown” factor when you come face to face, in close quarters, for extended periods of time.

The campaign called for doing 8 sets at a large production facility outside of Charlotte, NC, near Lowe’s corporate headquarters. When we first arrived we scouted the facility and scoped out a cozy corner of the massive complex were we had the luxury of a lot of space to be able to have 5 sets going simultaneously.. another set was slated to be created out in a garage on the complex grounds, while we would float in a simple flat for the 7th set and repurpose one of the original 5 sets for our final shot.

After surveying what would be our home for the next week, we roughed in a few camera angles, refined lighting visions with the crew, discussed how best to fine tune the sets that would be built, did a show and tell with the set stylist, and one with the wardrobe stylist.

Time to eat!

With less than a half day of interaction with the whole creative team, it was clear this was going to be fun. But really, when isn’t it?

On the second to last day of the shoot, we were doing a bathroom scene. The concept was that it was time for a face-lift as the bathroom in question had not seen the outside world since the 1970’s. The original layouts were skewed more towards a 1940’s bathroom but after a couple creative calls we all agreed 70’s would be way more groovy.

Joel Sarvis, our set stylist, had a heyday pulling together all of the various elements so make the bathroom sing.

The client? Totally supportive in letting us do what we do best! There were times where we would say to each other “Is this too over the top?” We’d look to the client and they would just shake their heads, shrug their shoulders and then put their hand out to us and say “Do what you think is best”.  :-O    (We LOVE when that happens!)

So we put the finishing touches on the set and captured the final approved image towards the end of the day. As we strike for the evening, Joel (set stylist) comes up and asks, could we leave the set up until the morning? “I would like to take a picture of myself in it, but want to wear something different than what I have on now.”… “No Problem!” We not only left the set but went ahead and left all the lighting in position as it would take no time to move to the next set in the morning (it was right behind us).

The next morning we get in and there is Joel dressed in 70’s garb, COLOR MATCHED to the set! PERFECT! He posed with his gold aviators, a glass of O.J., brushed his teeth with cigarette in hand, we were all laughing and having great fun..Then the Creative Director and I looked at each other knowing we had the same idea at the same time… “Joel.. one more shot….”

I love when projects allow you to churn out a great product, make the client happy, get to know a bunch of new people AND still leave time for a little levity.

Photograph of a man in a 1970's decorated bathroom with gaudy wallpaper and orange and gold accents standing in front of a toilet peeing with cigarette in hand.

“Joel… one more shot…”

Photograph of a1970's decorated bathroom with gaudy wallpaper and orange and gold accents. for Lowe's Home Improvement.

Approved shot

Photograph of a1970's decorated bathroom with gaudy wallpaper and orange and gold accents. for Lowe's Home Improvement.

Lowe’s final Ad

BTS Photo of the creative team

BTS Photo of the creative team.

Think Thin…

We recently shot a new campaign for Think Thin in which they introduce Grace and Mia. Two BFF’s that always have each other’s back. Think Thin has a wide array of heathy products and Grace and Mia had to try them all, so consequently we were in the studio for a long day to ensure we captured every bite. It was, as you can imagine, filled with a lot of shenanigans and hysterics. So now that the campaign has launched we are happy to share the fun with you. But you’ll have to run out and buy your own if you want the full sensory experience!

2017 International Color Awards…

Our image, “Let Your Voice Be Heard“, won an Honorable Mention in this years International Color Awards in the Professional Advertising category. We also had some of our images nominated in the Food, Portrait, and Architecture categories. This is always such a fun show to be a part of, due to its broad reach (entries from 75 countries)  and notable jurists, not to mention all the great imagery to peruse…

Photo of a mouse on a stool, speaking into a megaphone.

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Cup Noodles…

Image of man slurping Cup Noodles
images of people slurping Cup Noodles
Okay, so you HAVE to know that casting and shooting this project for Cup Noodles was, well,… humorous to say the least! We had to cast three talent, and by the end of the day, the double entendre’s were flying. You see, we had to be sure that each talent was capable of well… slurping noodles! So at the end of a full day of seeing a couple hundred people and repeatedly telling them to “suck”, and then “suck harder!”…. we’ll I think you can let your imagination run with that, and probably still not approach the 4:30pm punchy hilarity of it all…

The shoot itself? Just more of the same… laughs, winks, and a fun finished product. Everyone played along and had a great time. So check out these new ads for a classic product!

Check out the animated banners too!

Here

Here

Here

and Here!

Creative once again by the talented folks at High Wide & Handsome.

Now go get some Cup Noodles!!!

Carlos Mendez Roca…

One of the things I love most about what I do is the variety. One day we could be photographing quirky humorous images with the new cameras in 2017 in North Carolina for Lowe’s, the next could be nitro cold brewed coffee for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Los Angeles. Recently we were commissioned to create imagery for an exclusive boutique architectural and interior design firm in San Francisco. Part of the project was shooting portraits of the creatives that make up the firm. Rather than shooting the traditional “head shots” that adorn so may web sites and corporate brochures, we wanted to do something that was more iconic and spoke to the personality of the firm. We shot the images with the intent of using them in a black & white form, mimicking the graphic tone taken by the designers. However, after returning to the studio in Los Angeles and starting to play with the imagery from the shoot, I kept going back to the same frame of one of the principal’s, and I kept reverting it back to color. I worked a few different interpretations of the file, but after several hours of experimenting I found myself returning to the same visual direction… and what I was drawn to was an image that I felt had a classic, almost retro 1920’s/1930’s feel. It was and still is my favorite image from the session…

Portrait of Carlos Mendez Roca by Photographer Dana Hursey

Carlos Mendez Roca – © 2016 Dana Hursey Photography

New Work with Dean’s Dip…

We recently finished another campaign with one of our favorite agencies and favorite clients, High Wide & Handsome & Dean’s Dip (respectively). We always have a blast on these projects! Casting is always hysterical, and then it only becomes more fun as we get on set. You can check out some behind the scenes footage here. Thanks to everyone who contributes to make these productions sing!:

Arpen Productions
Eastside Studios – Casting
Jacob Rushing
Dillon Padgette
Zac Hardy Capture
Chris Monberg – BTS
Stephanie Greenleigh – Food Styling
Stacy Quackenbush – Wardrobe & Props
Stephanie Daniel – Hair & Makeup
and the rest of our amazing crew…

Below are a few samples of the finished work.

Photograph of man dipping a pizza crust into a tub of Dean's Dip Photograph of woman topping a baked potato with Dean's Dip Photograph of woman dipping a turkey leg into a tub of Dean's Dip

        
        
        

International Photography Awards 2016 (IPA’s)…

We are thrilled to announce (as we were just informed) that two of our images were awarded Honorable Mentions in this years International Photography Awards (IPA’s)!

With over 17,000 entries from 162 countries it is always an honor to be included in such a distinguished community of talented visual artists.

I love what I do, and genuinely love the amazing people I get to do it with. Every shot is always a team effort and I have been amazingly fortunate to be able to work with a generous and brilliant team.

Check out all the amazing imagery that is honored this year: IPA’s

Portrait of Man against Pink Background

Pondering Pink – Honorable Mention 2016 IPA’s – Advertising: Self Promotion

Photograph of a cocktail glass filled with punch.

Bubbling Pineapple Punch – Honorable Mention 2016 IPA’s – Advertising: Food

Benji is Back!!!

Remember back in the mid to late 70’s when wallabies, chocolate-brown corduroys and a yellow and orange stripped t-shirt were very likely to be your wardrobe? Well during that time there was a string of feel good movies that were all the rage staring and adorable pooch whose character name was… Benji…

Benji was a rescued mutt that went on to become world-famous through a string of films and TV specials.

Flash forward 40 years and Benji is Back! A few months ago we shared that we were on a super secret project and now we are finally able to say that Benji was that project. We were selected to shoot the very first pics of the New Benji and here he is…

Photograph of Benji the dog Photograph of Benji the dog on grass.

He is back with upcoming projects so check him out at Benji.com to keep up with all that he is doing.

You can also connect with Benji on his Facebook Page, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

We’re hoping to work a lot more with this adorable dog and his team as the day was fun, entertaining and surprisingly laid back for as hard as he worked (with plenty of doggie breaks)!

Creating Imagery for Lowe’s Movers Campaign…

So we recently started shooting imagery for Lowe’s Home Improvement. They have created a fun and humorous campaign revolving around helping people with the process of moving. Whether buying, selling, or renting, there is always a laundry list of things to take care of when you move from one abode to the next. Lowe’s Mover’s Program is meant to support everyone through that process, and we were more than thrilled to be selected to create imagery to humorously introduce people to the program. Here is one of the first images from the new campaign…

Woman peering over hedge through binoculars

These Recipes ROCK!!!….

Last month we did yet another shoot for Darling Magazine. This next issues has a Cuba theme. We shot three recipes:

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Semifreddo with Meringue Drops
  • Rose Wine & Red Currants Granita
  • Matcha n’Ice Cream w/ Pomegranate, Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Drizzle

OH MY GOD! As we shot and finished each set up we sampled the goods, and with each shot we stared bug-eyed at each other with how amazingly good each tasted, one after another, the food stylist, Kara Dykert, saying “Right?!”

I know, I know, I always sing the praises of this magazine and I am partial. But it is a beautifully produced quarterly and I am very proud to be able to contribute on a regular basis.

But if for no other reason than to get your hands on these three recipes, you NEED to get this issue! It hits the stands on the 15th.

Photo of Strawberry Rhubarb Semifreddo with Meringue Drops

Photo of Rose Wine & Red Currants Granita

Photo of Matcha n’Ice Cream w/ Pomegranate, Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Drizzle

 

Darling Issue 16 Cover

APA/LA Off The Clock Exhibition…

This Saturday is APA/LA‘s big annual exhibition called “Off The Clock“. It is a curated show of personal work from professional photographers from Los Angeles and across the country. This year the curator was Julie Grahame and she has put together a fantastic show of 100 images with wide-ranging perspectives. The Gala will be this Saturday night at Santa Monica Art Studios from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. This is part of MOPLA which is an annual event created by the Lucie Foundation to celebrate Photography in Los Angeles. We have two images in the exhibition this year, but the whole show is really what’s worth seeing. You can register here or just show up to share in the excitement of this fun annual event.

Off The Clock Logo

 

9th Annual International Color Awards…

This weekend we picked up an Honorable Mention in the 9th Annual International Color Awards in the Professional Portrait category with our photo of Jamesen Re. With a huge international submission it is quite an honor to be included in such a varied and talented group of artists! I can’t say enough about the amazing family of talented people I work with. On this particular project that would include Stacy Quackenbush on sets & wardrobe,  Stephanie Daniel on Hair & Makeup, and my preferred right hand Jacob Rushing. And of course huge shout out to Jamesen Re for owning it!

Check out our category, but also take the time to check out all the winners at http://www.colorawards.com, there are some really great images to experience!

Photo of Jamesen Re sitting on a Golden Couch

 

International Color Awards

Flying Through Boston (BOS) This Week?…

If you happen to be traveling through Logan International Airport (BOS) this week (March 22-27) check out our life-size imagery in terminals A, B, C & E! This is actually a good execution of taking an existing image and tailoring it to the client’s needs! If you do see it… snap a photo of yourself next to it and we’ll share it!

Photo of a man sitting in an all blue environment, "chilling". Images hanging at BOS

King King

In our last post we shared a couple of images we shot for Style Loves Adventure about some of the hot names in the music/club/festival world. Here is the other shot from the series. This is Mario Melendez, creator of King Kingthe club in Los Angeles..which has unfortunately closed – but who knows what may come next? 😉

You can read more in the SLA Article.

Again, amazing styling by Stacy Quackenbush, Grooming by Stephanie Daniel.

Photograph of Mario Melendez dress as a king.

Do You See Blue or Gold?…

It’s okay to say “Both!” While we have shared these photos in a few select venues, we have not shared the broadly as we were waiting for a few things to happy before we put them out to a wider audience. But now all cats are out of their respective bags so we can safely say… “Hey! Check out these images we shot of Dede Flemming (Co-Creator of Lightning in a Bottle and The Do LaB) and Jamesen Re (Producer / DJ / Entrepreneur)”

There is a third in the series that we’ll share in our next post, but needless to say we had a blast shooting these images for Style Loves Adventure!

Amazing Sets and Wardrobe by: Stacy Quackenbush
Grooming by: Stephanie Daniel

Photo of Dede Flemming dressed in Blue, holding a bottle with lightning inside Photo of Jamesen Re dressed in Gold sitting on a Golden Couch

We Have Issues with Darling Magazine!

And in the latest one you’ll find some great recipes for gelato that we had fun photographing! I’ve said it before, if you have not gotten your hands on an issue of Darling Magazine, you’re missing out! This is a beautifully crafted quarterly that is worth checking out!

Darling Magazine Issue #15 is available now!

Photo spread of gelato recipes.

 

Darling Magazine Cover

PDN – Photo District News

Dana Hursey featured in this month’s PDN “How I Got That Shot”.

We’ve been doing a bunch of interviews lately (did you see the one withe Suzanne Sease?) And we are super excited to be featured in the February issue of PDN! (Photo District News). PDN does a recurring feature called “How I Got That Shot” where they discuss a few images, and what the photographer did in order to achieve them. This month’s edition features our work! It looks at two images we did, one for a highly anticipated SLA (Style Loves Adventure) feature that will be out soon, and highlights the talents of Stacy Quackenbush and Stephanie Daniel.  The other is an image that made it into CA (Communication Arts) and features the set stylings of Oliver Martin, animal stylings of Animal Savvy and retouching magic of Lisa Carney. If you don’t subscribe to Photo District News, check it out on news stands now! The online version will be up in February!

Photo District News (PDN) Article on Los Angeles Photographer Dana Hursey

Darling, It’s Darling Time… Darling.

Okay… We had a LOT of fun with this one! Here are a couple of images from a Recipe Article we did in the Brand New Issue of Darling Magazine. #DarlingIssue14

There were tarps, and deflector boards, and turkey basters (and brooms and vacuums and rags – oh my!). But at the end of it all we had some dynamic shots and eventually a clean studio.

Go get the latest issue and enjoy the recipes and all of the great articles in this finely crafted magazine!

Photo of milk being poured onto a stack of cookies

Photo of a cake on a platter with ingredients raining down on it.

Cover of Darling Magazine - Issue 14

2015 International Photography Awards – The IPA’s…

We are thrilled to again be included with such an amazing collection of supremely talented photographers, in this years International Photography Awards (IPA’s). We were tapped with Three Honorable Mentions, in:

  • Professional: Advertising, Food
  • Professional: Fine Art, Other
  • Professional: Special, Night Photography

Check out all of the Honorees at IPA Awards.

The Alphabet as represented by Food Items

Professional: Advertising, Food

Photo of Salad Ingredients suspended in air against a black background

Professional: Fine Art, Other

Nighttime Photograph of The City of Arts and Sciences Complex in Valencia Spain

Professional: Special, Night Photography

The Photo Estimate Checklist…

Photo of a hand holding a pen filling out a form.

Over the years I have had a variety of solutions to try to support the process of asking all the right questions one must ask in order to put together a proper estimate. For a long time I had used a form I created in Microsoft Office that had space for most of the pertinent information. I would print up a stack and have them sitting next to the phone ready to go. A few years ago in my effort to be “paperless” I incorporated that information into my CRM (Daylite) as an embedded form I could pull up and fill out as I was talking to someone. But inevitably there would be questions I would ask that the client had not thought about, or did not have the answer to, and they would have to go away and talk to the other parties involved, in order to obtain the answers and “get back to me later”. There is no one size fits all solution, as each shoot has its own unique factors to take into account. But for me with the types of projects I shoot, there are some basic questions that go a long way to getting most of the needed information for any given project, and from there it is usually a simple email with one or two follow-up questions that get us the rest of the details needed in order to provide our clients with a spot-on estimate.

Recently I decided to create an online questionnaire that addressed the common key points and was readily available to my clients so that they could more efficiently collect the answers before making the initial request from us for an estimate.  It has been a big hit with my clients and has acted as a checklist for them to make sure they too, are addressing all the needs of their various projects. In addition it has been very helpful to folks who are new to the process and don’t even know the questions to ask in order to start visualizing how a production will be put together.

This week we took it one step further and incorporated the online version into an editable pdf, that can be emailed to someone to work on over time rather than having to do it all in one fell swoop online. So we thought we would go ahead and share it. Granted this Estimate Request Form is very much geared to our particular workflow and shooting style. If we shot Architecture or Sheet Metal (automotive) this form would probably look very different. But hey… whats to stop those who do, from taking this and moulding it to their own specialty or workflow?

We also hope this will be helpful to Art Buyers / Producers or Creatives to gather all the details they might want to relay to us in their RFP’s.

Again every unique project will usually require a couple follow-up communications, but for us, this goes a long way to eliminating the MULTIPLE “just one more question for you…”‘s as well as helping to educate those who may be doing this for the first time.

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Photography Licensing & Work for Hire – A Cautionary Tale…

Photo of a man on the phone, shot from behind grabbing his head in frustration.This week we did an estimate for an agency for a one day location shoot here in Los Angeles. The agency was from out-of-state and was coming to L.A. for our broader selection of location options. Their first point of contact was through our website where they used our new “Estimate Request Form“. (I will share more on that in another post.) The form has very specific call-outs for the various types of licensing options available.

Maybe I should back up and address licensing first. For the most part, “Licensing” is how most advertising photographers make money from our imagery. We get paid for photographing something based on how, when, and where the image is going to be used. The more exposure it gets, the more inherent value it has. For instance if I photograph a sprinkler head on a white background for Bob’s Plumbing down the street and it is going to appear in a one time advertisement in the local PennySaver, I am not going to charge Bob the same price for that simple shot as I am going to charge Coca-Cola for a shot of Beyoncé holding up a Coke can sitting on the shoulders of football players surrounded by swooning fans shot in a football stadium with fireworks exploding behind her that will be used all season in magazines and on billboards culminating in a Super Bowl campaign. The second photograph has a bit more inherent value.

The image on the left is going is more likely to have more inherent value as well as higher production costs, than the image on the right.

The image on the left is more likely to have more inherent value as well as higher production costs, than the image on the right.

As a general rule, most licensing is for a year. Meaning the client can use the imagery in the agreed upon media venues (i.e. Print Advertising, Internet, Billboards, Broadcast, Point of Purchase, etc.) for 12 months. If the image is not time sensitive, many advertisers will opt to license images for longer periods, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, and some even licenses  images “in perpetuity” meaning they can use them forever. This all gets spelled out during the initial estimating process. The advertiser or ad agency will indicate their desired media,  length of time, region (i.e. local, national, worldwide etc.) and whether or not they want exclusive usage of the imagery (meaning the images cannot be used elsewhere, if they want exclusivity), and from that the photographer will negotiate an appropriate fee, based on these parameters, certainly also taking into account the complexity of the project and what it will take to produce the final image(s).

As I have discussed in previous posts, as a photographer, when you snap a photo you are instantly and legally the owner / author / copyright holder of that image… without doing anything additional. From there, you are now able to license your image to others to use per negotiated or agreed upon terms. In the advertising photography industry there are three general licensing models…

  1. Use in a specified media & region for a specified time.
  2. Unlimited / Unrestricted Usage.
  3. Buy Out.

Let’s take a look…

Specified Media, Region, & Time: The first is the most common. The advertiser / end-user wants to use the image in a specific media, in a specific region, for a specific amount of time. For instance; a bathing suit manufacturer wants to use a photo of a model wearing their latest creation in magazine advertisements and on their packaging for one year (because next year they will have a new & different style),only in the United States (they don’t have any foreign distributors so they don’t sell outside the U.S.). Variations on this theme are endless.

Unlimited / Unrestricted: The second is becoming much more common these days. The advertiser / end-user wants the flexibility to use the images whenever and wherever they want. They don’t want to have to worry if the license period is about to expire or expose themselves if someone in the company inadvertently uses it in a media that was not part of the original licensing agreement. So this licensing allows them to use the images however they want… forever. BUT the photographer still owns the images and holds the copyright. The end-user is NOT allowed to re-sell or re-license the images to a third-party. They can ONLY use the images for the brand that they were originally licensed for. This licensing model is going to be more expensive to the end-user. Rule of thumb? …The photo fee will most likely be double / triple that of a one year license.

Buy Out: The third is the least common. In this licensing model, the actual ownership and copyright of the imagery is transferred to the advertiser / end-user. With this, they truly can do whatever they want with the image, including re-selling or re-licensing it to other parties. There is rarely a real need for this type of licensing and with the photographer giving up all rights to the image, it will normally come with a premium price tag, usually 3x to 5x that of a one year license.

All of that being said, let’s get back to the tale at hand. So we received a request for an estimate for this upcoming L.A. based shoot. In the estimate request the agency ticked off the specific licenses that they wanted. The same licensing model was spelled out in subsequent email communications… Unlimited, Worldwide, Perpetual use. For all intents and purposes “Unlimited / Unrestricted Usage”. The client had a budget in mind which they shared with us. There was no way we could produce the job for the budget they specified, but we assured them we would do our utmost to be mean & lean with our production so as to get as close to that number as we possibly could. With that in mind and this being a new client we were very generous (read “low”) with our fees so as to accommodate the client as much as possible, while still giving them the unlimited / unrestricted usage they were asking for. We put together our estimate and packaged it up with a “treatment” (a multi-page document laying out our vision for the project and how we’d approach it, including sample imagery) and sent it off to the agency. After a couple of days of back and forth refinements (giving the agency options to present to the client) we were awarded the job. YAY!

During the “back and forth” things were looking hopeful, as they were setting me up as a vendor, and getting all the paperwork in order, so we held the prospective dates for production and started to line up crew and locations.

Once we were awarded the project we were told that a P.O. (Purchase Order) would follow later that day. Purchase orders are generally a simple formality but are an important part of the process if your agency or client uses them. Most P.O.’s are very basic and if they have any terms & conditions on them, they are usually just your normal boilerplate text. Later that day we received the promised P.O., and as I started to follow the instructions for submitting our advance invoice (we always get an advance on each project up front to cover the expenses incurred during production – our advances are either 50% of the total invoice or 75% of expenses, whichever is higher) I wandered into the Terms and Conditions section of the P.O. … and there it was… Really?….. REALLY?! Could this be true? Does this still really go on?… The P.O. Terms and Conditions indicated that anything created for this project would be considered “Work for Hire”! What’s “work for hire” you ask? Wikipedia does it justice. Basically the P.O. was saying that I was signing away any and all rights to the imagery I would produce. Uuuummmm No I’m Not! First and foremost that is NOT the licensing model I was asked to estimate. And secondly, No I’m Not!

Work for Hire Text

This is something one might see in a “Work for Hire” agreement.

In reality it is not a licensing model at all. Rather, it is a legal exception to the fact that the person who creates something is its author / owner. Negating the copyright one would normally have automatically when creating a photograph.

Seeing this in a P.O. in 2015 was surprising to say the least. I had truly thought these things were a relic of the past. That aside if the agency wanted to own the imagery, first have the decency to call it what it is .. a Buy Out. Don’t ask for an Unlimited / Unrestricted Usage and then hope that the fine print gets overlooked. I understand that this is the easy way to C.Y.A. in these litigious times. But we are a small community and really are all on the same side. Trying to provide compelling, great quality imagery for clients to help sell their brand and products.

I subsequently addressed the issue with the agency. Indicating that the T&C on the P.O. are not the same as the Licensing we negotiate and agreed to in our estimate, for which the job was ultimately awarded to us. I offered to strike the “work for hire” clause in the P.O. and proceed, or alternately renegotiate the licensing fees for an Unlimited / Unrestricted usage. The agency refused any alterations to the P.O..

There were other “red flags” that had popped up during the process but I had taken them with a grain of salt and shrugged my shoulders, saying, not a big deal, we’ll work through “that”. But with this change of licensing after the fact and in taking a step back and looking at the project as a whole, it was starting to look like there were too many red flags. Ultimately I had to walk away from the project. Which was too bad as we were going to produce some really great imagery for this client.

There is nothing illegal about work for hire and I completely get how it can be the easiest course of action to protect oneself when it comes to the convoluted world of intellectual property. My issue in this case was the lack or transparency upfront during the estimating process. Would I ever do work for hire? Hard to say… I haven’t yet. It has always made me feel “icky”. But I will say that I will never do it without knowing UP FRONT.

The morals of the story is:

  1. Make sure to always get a signed estimate or P.O. before starting production.
  2. Of course, always read the blocks of fine print, no matter how long… I know… 🙁
  3. Be upfront, honest, and transparent.
  4. Don’t do “work for hire” if it makes you feel “icky”, you won’t be alone. (if you have to, make sure you charge appropriately – we all have to make a living!)

I am an advocate for elevating quality in advertising photography, both in its visual execution, and in the business and production of all that surrounds that execution. The more advocates there are, the higher the elevation will be, and the faster it will occur! Then we can just focus on what’s important; making great imagery for our clients.

Photo of classic Mercedes Benz driving across a bridge

Brand Name and Production Costs have a lot to do with an image’s value.

Yogurtland…

 

A photograph of a cup of Yogurtland Strawberry Yogurt

We recently helped out the folks at Yogurtland and Amusement Park create their new campaign called “Top This!”, encouraging  patrons to create their own towering masterpieces. It was of course a delicious day and we had a blast exploring all kinds of delectable combinations. From the Whimsical, to the Decadent, to the Colossal… each was a challenge in its own right. But with speed and stealth (and the food stylings of Nicole Kruzick @ Belly Food Style) we captured some mouth-watering combinations that were a feast for the… well they were a feast. Head over to your nearest Yogurtland and step up to the Ultimate Toppings Challenge! We’ll be keeping an eye out to see who wins!

Photo Of Yogurtland yogurt with all kinds of delicious toppings.

Photo of an extra large cup of Yogurtland yogurt with bountiful toppings.