Monday, February 13, 2017

Photographer Courtesy

Good morning everyone, I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I had a pretty good weekend, even though my wife had a 24 hour duty on Saturday, but all-in-all I can't complain. I did have something happen to me on Friday night that I want to talk about and is something that I have never had happen to me before but have heard it happening to other photographers. I just want to take a second and explain why you should never ask, or expect, a photographer to give you all of their images straight from the camera before they leave the shoot/event.

This past Friday I was able to get back to shooting some hockey for the local professional team, something that I was doing to build my portfolio and has been a train wreck since the second game for various reasons. But this last game was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" for me. Now, I need to be fair and give all credit due as they never had to let me shoot their events, and I'm super appreciative of the opportunity. But when you let someone shoot there are some things that you just can't ask them to do, like download all of their images to your hard drive before they leave.

Back in December my wife was working a lot, I mean A LOT of hours, and I needed something to do to and I found out there was a local professional hockey team. I had only shot two hockey games before this and they were just adult league games when I lived in NY. I reached out to the team and their marketing person allowed me to go and shoot. When I showed up for the first game I was invited back and given a "hard card", or credentials, to keep coming back. We made arrangements for the images and everything worked fine for that first game. But that is when things went downhill and real fast. My contact and the team "mutually split ways" for various reasons but they were going to stay on and help with the social media side of things for another week or so.

After the third game I could tell there were a lot of issues up and down the organization but that was none of my business and I just wanted to shoot, and I did for a few more games. But my images weren't being used after my original contact left and I was questioning how many more games I would shoot since I wasn't being compensated. By this time I was up to five games and thought I had done really good, I represented myself very well and thought the team could benefit from some of the images for various purposes. 

A few weeks ago I received a call from the organization asking me what my plans were for the rest of their season and make arrangements to continue to get them the images. I gave them my schedule and we agreed that we would continue to transfer images as I had previously. Everything sounded great until I walked in the arena Friday and one of the owners stopped me in my tracks and told me I was to download my images before I left. All I can say is whoa! I tried to explain to him that it wasn't how I operated and I had made arrangements with his organization already. He wasn't very happy and at that point I was fully expecting to be escorted out of the arena. He didn't and we came to another agreement.

Now that you know how that all went down, I want to try to explain why this isn't acceptable except in a very few instances. 
  1. The images you see that come from GOOD professional photographers are all edited in some way, shape or form. This could be minor color corrections to adjusting the horizon to completely digitally manipulating the image as the photographer deems fit. This is also where a photographer will add their metadata to the images for copyright purposes.
  2. In most cases, the photographer is shooting with a file format that is propitiatory to that camera and will only be opened by programs that have tools to open the format. This DOES NOT include jpeg images, which are what most of the images you see across the interwebs.
  3. Photographers SHOULD only be showing clients and viewers alike their best images. I can promise that every picture a photographer takes is not how they wanted it to be. Examples would be out of focus, not properly exposed, or not properly framed. You don't want to see these mistakes but know that most good photographers learn from their mistakes on the fly and correct them as they go.
One example of this being an acceptable practice would be if shooting a live event, like the Olymics, where the images are automatically transferred to an editing team that address the first bullet point for almost immediate dissemination of images.  

These are some of the more obvious reasons to me but there are a multitude of other reasons a photographer wouldn't want to turn over the images before leaving.

I feel there is a huge disconnect with what people in general want and think they can do with pictures versus what is the right way of doing things. This is where the professional can try to educate people on these practices and that is what I wanted to do with this post. I hope I was able to explain where you know why you aren't getting, or even seeing, all of the images a photographer takes at a shoot or event. I have also learned something from this experience and will be changing the way I go about things on my side from here on out as well. This is a good thing as I hope it makes me a better photographer for future endeavors.

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