frequently asked questions
- selecting a photographer
- why an accredited photographer
- briefing a commercial photographer
- briefing a wedding photographer
- briefing a portrait photographer
- how do photographers charge?
- who owns the photographs?
- techno speak (technical terms what do they mean)
Selecting a Photographer
Most photographers have an area of speciality in their work. They will also have differing skill levels and experience with particular types of assignments. Before booking any photographer try and ascertain what experience they have in that field, seek samples of their work and look for confidence in their answers. A true professional should also have both the integrity and confidence to tell you if they’re not the right person for the assignment, and if possible recommend someone who they feel would be suitable.
Photographers, like most professionals in any industry, should work by contract. It will detail all cost and provisions and detail copyright and usage allowances.
Photographers who are members of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP) or Australian Commercial & Media Photographers (ACMP) are bound by respective codes of ethics that guarantee professional behaviour.
Why an accredited Photographer
Photography in recent years has become a very popular career, with the advent of highly automated cameras and computer software amateur and enthusiast photographers can easily make the progression from hobbyist to professional without fully understanding the technical, ethical and creative requirements of a professional.
While this can lead to bargain prices it also usually results in unhappy clients, disappointing results with little redress for the client particularly if the project was a one off e.g. wedding.
APP, Accredited Professional Photographers, are required to meet a minimum training and competency, meet minimum business standards and undergo annual continual professional development programs to ensure they meet the expectations of their clients.
More information can be found here.
Briefing a Commercial Photographer
Accurate information is essential before a photographer can quote or start any assignment. You need to be clear about what you or your company want to achieve
- how many photographs do you need
- where and how are they going to be used
- what size will they be used at
- when do you need them
You don’t have to have the technical facts. For this a good photographer can work with you and guide you through the process to ensure that they have sufficient information to quote and start any assignment.
If you do not have the specifics at the initial time of contact then the photographer can supply an estimate based on their experience
The successful conclusion to any assignment will always start with good communication and good planning.
Briefing a Wedding Photographer
Before calling a photographer you and your partner should consider your needs and future aspirations of the photographs captured on your wedding day.
Things to consider:
- to what extent you want the wedding photographed
- the style of photography
- album sizes and style
- DVD audiovisuals
Your wedding day will be one of the most special and memorable days in you life. They can be days of mixed emotions so it is important to look for a photographer who you feel at ease with. They should be confident, professional and experienced.
Briefing a Portrait Photographer
Briefing a portrait photographer should be a truly interactive experience. People have their own soul, personality or character and in our minds eye we have an impression of what a person looks like. A photographer’s role is to explore all of this with their subjects and ensure that the final results meet their client’s needs.
Things to consider prior to speaking with a photographer would be:
- black and white versus colour
- location or studio
- size of the final prints
How do Photographers charge?
Different sectors of the market charge in different ways.
Commercial /Advertising photographers generally charge for their time based on how the images are to be used. This can be per hour or per day. In addition they will charge for their expenses including film and digital post production, travel, models, couriers, assistants, post production retouching etc.
Wedding Photographers will generally work to a package and have various options to suit the needs of different wedding styles and budgets. These packages will have specific inclusions and professional photographers should have an itemised price list for product not included in the package. This may include extra pages in wedding albums, reprints for family and friends and framed display prints.
Portrait Photographers will generally charge a modest sitting fee and then have an itemised price list for print orders and framing. It is important when talking to photographers to ask what the additional print prices are, as this will generally give you a better understanding of what your final cost may be.
Who Owns the Photographs?
To explain this properly we must first differentiate between the tangible product (say a photographic print) and the intangible being intellectual property.
When you buy a book from a store you own the book that includes the ink, the page’s, cover etc. what you don’t own is the copyright, the authors intellectual creation of the story and words.
Similarly, with photography, the photographer’s intellectual input into creating the image is protected by Copyright law.
Under Australian copyright law, which is in line with the majority of other countries in the world, the photographer, as creator of the images, owns the copyright of any image they take under a commercial agreement. The standard practice is for the photographer to License the use of the images to you as the client by agreement.
As copyright owner the photographer has the right to control copying, reproduction, distribution and display of the photographs. In exactly the same way that a musician is able to control the copying of their music, and, just like a CD recording of music, possession of photographic material, such as slides, prints, transparencies or digital files, does not grant the right to reproduce the images. If you plan to give the photographs to others who were not involved in the assignment, or if you have received photographs without written permission for their use, remember only the photographer can license the rights.
Copyright and the right to use the pictures cannot be transferred without consent of the copyright owner. Agreements should be in writing, and, to protect everyone’s interests and prevent misunderstandings, both parties should sign agreements.
For more information visit www.copyright4clients.com.au
The Australian Copyright law specifically excludes wedding and portrait photography from the above copyright protection. The majority of wedding portrait photographers request their clients enter a Contract or agreement prior to commencing any work assigning photographers copyright of the images taken.
The majority of photography in today’s professional market is done with digital cameras but film still exists and will for some time. The following is an explanation of terminologies for both film and digital
RGB is the native format all digital cameras capture a colour image. It stands for Red Green and Blue. It is the recommended format for professional photography.
CMYK is the colour format that printers use when producing magazines brochures etc. Any Digital image to be printed this way will have to be converted from RGB to CMYK. This conversion should only be done by experienced professionals who have the knowledge of the specific printing press that is going to be used. If this conversion is done incorrectly it can seriously influence the end printed result.
File Size: There are two aspects of digital imaging size. The first is the size of the computer file commonly referred to as file size. This is measured in megabytes of information. Because some formats compress information and others don’t it can sometimes be misleading to ask for an image to be supplied at a particular megabyte size.
The second and preferred way to relate to digital format size is by its physical dimension. Each picture has a width and height exactly the same as prints from a lab but they also have a third dimension dpi (dots per inch), also known as PPI (pixels per inch). This nominates the amount of pixels (or dots) per square inch of image area. As a general rule images that are going to be printed should have 300 dpi, images that are going to be viewed on a computer only require 72 dpi
As an example an image 20cm x 25cm at 300 dpi has a file size of 20 megabytes. An image 20cm x 25cm @ 72 dpi has a file size 1.15 megabytes.
Jpeg is a compression format used to reduce the file size (not the physical size) of a digital photographic image. The more compression that is applied the more likely quality loss may occur. It is primarily used for emailing images or allowing more images to be supplied on a CD.
Tiff is a standard format for suppling digital images. It does not entail any compression or quality loss and generally creates a file too large for email.
PDF Portable Document Format (PDF) is a flexible, cross-platform, cross-application file format.
Colour transparency (or slides) is the standard film used for commercial advertising photography. It comes in various sizes 35mm, medium format and large format. It is traditionally scanned into a digital format for reproduction. The larger the film size the higher the quality and potential for enlargements with minimal loss.
Colour (or B&W) Negative is the standard film for both wedding/ portrait photography and is traditionally used for producing colour (or B&W) prints. It can also be used for commercial photography.