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January 2008 Archives

January 2, 2008

Light Meter: Headroom 101

Happy New Year! Let's welcome 2008 with open arms and more knowledge about taking better photographs. We begin with fixing one of the most common mistakes people make, too much headroom.

What is headroom? It is the empty space above the subject's head, not the empty space in the subject's head.

You want to fill your frame with the subject, that will eliminate excess headroom and make for a much nicer photo.

Today's model is Linda Eckwerth aka LindaLou. The poor dear had sat down at Pizzafari waiting for all the other AllEars folks to gather for lunch. I walked in and said I needed a victim, ehh, volunteer and dragged her outside. I'm not kidding this time.

Here we see all that empty space above Linda and Terk's heads. It's a waste of space and makes them look as though they fell down in the frame. They are looking at me and thinking, What gives?!

Now, all that space is gone and Linda approves. Filling the frame makes for a better picture. Don't be afraid to zoom in or get closer to your subject.

These were shot with the Olympus FE-210.

January 4, 2008

Photographic Innoventions: Photo Editing 101

Unlike when you used film, digital photography processing is done inside your camera and produces JPEG images. (dSLRs can also produce RAW images. RAW images are often referred to as digital negatives and require processing on a computer to produce the final JPEG image.) If you are like me, you try to get all your photos as close to perfect right out of the camera. It takes a lot of practice and getting to know your camera as to what settings give you the results you are looking for. I learn each time I use my camera so if you are an old hand at photography or just starting your photographic adventures, you will one day look at the photos and wonder if there is a way to improve them.

In researching this entry I found there is no general "how to" information on approaching digital photo editing. What follows is my approach. The photo editor used was Picnik.com and the steps outlined should be available in most photo editing software. The goal for the photo I selected of my daughter enjoying a hammock on the Polynesian Resort's beach was to reclaim the colors as I remembered them.

Before Digital Processing.
© Scott Thomas Photography 2008

After Digital Processing.
© Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Original Photo Data: Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/500s, f/10, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length


The original image on the left is a bit underexposed as I had dialed in a -0.3 exposure compensation (EV). Not a drastic error yet I wanted to recoup the detail lost. In Picnik.com, I start with the Exposure tab which has two sliders for Exposure and Contrast. I first moved the Exposure slider to the right to add exposure slowly until I got back the detail. Picnik.com has an advanced button for brightness, adjusting highlight and dark areas and local contrast. I like to use the local contrast tool instead of the general contrast slider as it gives me a little more control. Your software may or may not have this option. I used a radius of 5 and strength of 25%. This brought out even more detail in the hammock and tree bark.

Step 2: COLOR

After adjusting exposure, I move on to the Color tab. Here I always first try the Auto Color button. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don't. As they say YMMV (Your Mileage My Vary). In this case, I didn't like it and hit the Reset button to start over. Next I adjusted the two sliders available. One for Temperature and one for Saturation. I set up my camera to saturate colors so I usually don't have to add any more. However, my camera settings tends to give my photos a reddish cast to light objects. In this case, the sand and hammock color is off. In some software, you may see a Blue and Red indicator on the Temperature slider. I moved the Temperature slider to the left or blue end to a -5 bringing back the natural colors to those photo elements.


I've been learning about sharpening over the last few days and was surprised to find out most digital photos need to be sharpened. Picnick.com allows for two ways to sharpen: a simple slider and a more advanced Unsharp Mask. Don't let the unsharp mask confuse you, it is a sharpening tool. The name is a hold over from film processing days. The simple slider is great and I have used it with excellent results but no higher than a setting of 10 or less. Beyond that, photos start to look unreal.

There's a whole bunch of ways people use unsharp mask tools in photo editing software. Some are very complicated and require very expensive software. However, I want to share with you three simple recipes as recommended by Scott Kelby in his book, The Digital Photography Book (page 18):

For people, set Amount to 150%, Radius to 1 pixel and Threshold to 4 levels
For cityscapes, urban and travel photography, set Amount to 65%, Radius to 3 pixels and Threshold to 2 levels
For general everyday use, set Amount to 85%, radius to 1 pixel and Threshold to 4 levels

In the example photo, I used the general recipe in Picnik.com's Unsharp Mask tool (note: Picnik.com does not have the Threshold setting).

Now, all these adjustments are to MY taste. Yours will be different. What I have found in reading about photo editing is it is very subjective to the person doing the editing. There are techniques you can learn but no rules to follow. If you own a photo editing software product, I encourage you to find Internet resources, books, and video training for it.

I am much happier with the new version of my example photograph. To see larger versions of the Before and After photos, click on either of them. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to approach your photo editing tasks.

January 6, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #22

This was Challenge #21:
Where in the World #21

And here's the answer:
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/250s shutter, f8

Only one person knew that this metal hand was part of the ESPN building on the Boardwalk and that was Jessica Romano. Congratulations Jessica! I was certain this would be an easy one. This contest just baffles me (in a fun way). Whenever I think something is going to be hard, someone gets it right away. And when I think my email with be overrun by answers, I have a lonely week!

Well, it just means there'll be better odds for winning the monthly prize this month. Let's see how you all do on this next one. Good luck everyone!

Challenge #22: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #22

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

January 8, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Sensor Dust

I found myself in quite a predicament on my last trip to Disney World. Back in the fall I took my camera in to be cleaned. It wasn't really dirty but I had bought one of those service agreements that included a yearly cleaning. So I thought it would be a good idea to take it in.

When I next used my camera I noticed little fuzzy dots on my photos. I had been taking pictures in the rain and assumed it was water spots. I gave my lens and filters a good cleaning and put away my camera.

The next time I went out shooting I had the same spots. Now I realized that what I was seeing were dust spots on my sensor. I opened the camera, blew out the inside and cleaned off the inside of my lens. I was able to get rid of all the spots except one.

That one spot was pretty easy to get rid of with Photoshop - one little click and it was gone - so I lived with it. But I knew I would be taking hundreds of photos on my trip to Florida and I didn't want to have to deal with fixing each and every one of them. I knew I needed to take my camera back in.

Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until just before leaving to call the place that cleaned it, or should I say, dirtied it! No problem, they could re-clean it that day and I could pick it up in the morning before heading to the airport. I was thrilled.

When I picked up the camera the next day I was told that they couldn't get the spot off and that I'd have to send it in to get the sensor replaced. That would take 4 weeks. Well, there was no way I was going to Disney World without my camera. I'd just have to Photoshop that little spot out of my photos and get it fixed later. On to the World"

When I arrived at the Boardwalk I found that I had a great view of the pool and the Dolphin Hotel. It was a gorgeous blue day and of course, the first thing I did was unpack my camera to snap a photo of my view. I was horrified at what I saw. That small little spot was actually gone, but in its place were a number of other spots, including a big long streak down the middle of the frame. Here's a photo of what they looked like.

dust at f/22

It was disastrous. There was no way I would be able to Photoshop that streak out of hundreds (more than 1300 as it turned out!) of photos. Thank goodness for the internet. I was able to connect with some of my online friends who were still at home and get some advice for what I could possibly do while I was there. You were probably wondering if I was ever going to get around to a tip in this post! Well here it comes.

Be sure to check your camera equipment well in advance of any trip you are taking. Obvious, right? But how many of us really do that? I know I can't be the only one who could make such a silly mistake. I could have saved myself a considerable amount of stress. Not to mention the vacation time I wasted trying to figure out how to solve my dilemma while I was there.

Now, if you decide not to follow my advice and you find yourself in the same predicament, here is another tip thanks to my internet friends. If you have dust on your sensor that you cannot clean off right away, set your aperture wide open. At f/3.5 the dust spots will be barely visible. This bit of advice saved my butt. The photo above was taken at f/22. This one below was taken at f/3.5.

dust at f/3.5

In May I am heading to Europe on an Adventures by Disney trip. I definitely learned my lesson. I'm taking my camera in to get the sensor replaced soon.

By the way, here is a photo of that view.

My View
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200VR, 1/1250s shutter, f3.5

January 9, 2008

Light Meter: Textures

It's amazing what surrounds us at every trip to Walt Disney World as well as the world in general. There are fine details at each turn. When we stop and look we discover a whole new world with new horizons to pursue. I'll chase them anywhere....

While strolling through Animal Kingdom, I happened upon a poll which had a variety of animals and reptiles carved in it. Maybe they're plaster or clay, I'm not sure what the material is but this is what I mean by detail being within reach.

The dinosaur itself has a variety of textures from the etched scales to it's sleek smirk. He knows you have a bucket of popcorn in your other hand and he's waiting for you to turn your head and then WHAM! BAM! No more Orville Redenbacher, ma'am!

See the difference in textures, the smoothness of a feather to the patterned bumps on a lizard. This is so much safer than trying to pet Kimono Dragons

In order to achieve detail at close range, use the macro setting on your camera. The icon for macro is a flower and may be found on a dial, joystick or under the scene mode. How close can you get? Each camera is different, for best results just give it a try and consult your manual.

For more information you can also read my blog "Me and My Macro".

January 11, 2008

Photographic Innoventions: Photo Gems

Parasols in Liberty Square.
Nikon D70/80-200D, 1/200s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 135mm Focal Length

When I can, I like to find Photographic Gems at Walt Disney World. Gems can be found literally around each and every corner. Remember to look not at just the overall scene but at parts of them. This is how I found these colorful, personalized parasols being displayed next to a cart in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square across from the Christmas shop. It was a busy morning and there were people everywhere but the bright colors of the parasols caught my eye as I was scanning around. The Cast Member had taken great care in arranging the parasols in a pleasing fashion. Being in the shade, the picture came out a bit bluish so I adjusted the color temperature a bit towards the warm or red color in a photo editor.

January 13, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #23

This was Challenge #22:
Where in the World #22

And here is the answer:
Belle and Beast

The Beauty and the Beast float at the Magic Kingdom is where you'll find this cute little bird. There is always a lot of wonderful detail in the parade floats - something to keep in mind for future challenges! This week's winner, Christina Daughtridge, is very observant. She was the only one who sent in the correct answer.

We've had two hard challenges in a row. I bet a lot of people will recognize this next picture.
Challenge #23: Where in the world is this?
Where in the World #23

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

January 15, 2008

Focus on Disney World - February Calendar

If you read my December 25, 2007 blog, you know that my holiday gift to you is that each month I will post a photo calendar page that you can print out and use at home or work during 2008.

Here is February's calendar page for downloading. This photo of Snow White from the parade at the Magic Kingdom was probably my luckiest shot ever. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The original photo wasn't actually that impressive. I turned it into one of my favorites by cropping it and softening her features with a gausian blur effect in Photoshop.

You will need to have Adobe Reader on your computer to download the calendar(s). Just click on the photo to download the calendar you want.

This one prints out at 8.5" x 11". It's handy if you need a calendar that you can write on.

February 2008 8.5x11

This one prints out at 4.75" x 4.75", the perfect size for a CD Jewel Case frame.

February 2008 Jewel Case

January 16, 2008

Light Meter: Making a Bad Photo Better

Yeehaw! I bet you boys and girls have taken lots a pictures of yur family. Like the time Joe-Joe done gradyated from 5th grade after 3 years. Or, or, or when Uncle Clyde won the blue ribbon for having the best looking twin. Boy oh boy do I remember those days.

I betya that sometimes those pictures don't look so good. That's cuz the flash only goes about 8-10 feet and your standing 12 or more feets away. That means the light falls off and doesn't iluminate your subject.

Hooey, we can fix them photos right for ya. I'll show you how. See here, I took a photo of Billy while he was on the stage singing and dancing for the fine folks at Disneyland. He's part of that band, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. My friends and I were sitting right next to the stage, off to the side in the penalty box. With my little point and shoot camera that has a 3x optical zoom, I grabbed this shot of Billy in acshun!
The flash went off but Billy was too dang far away. Now my picture is a bit underexposed. The onslaught of the yellow and magenta colors are from the stage lights cuz they are faaaaancy in the Golden Horseshoe. I could play with them pinks and yellas to try and bring Billy's skin tone back to normal but I can breathe a whole new life into the fella by changing him to black and white.

Most photo software programs will let ya make a color picture into black and white. I use Adobe ImageReady CS2. Under Image, I go to Adjustments and then Desaturate. This yanks out all of the color from the photo and gives me this.

It's now black and white but it's still dark and muddy lookin'. That Billy looks like he's gonna put that there washboard to good use.

When I go back to Image, I'm gonna click on Adjustments and then Levels. A box shows up and it shows the range in tones. Shadows on the left, midtones in the center and highlights on the right. By moving those do-hickey sliders around I can brighten up the photo. See here, now!

Woooeeee, Billy is lookin' brighter already. Too bad them levels didn't make him smarter. Heh heh heh. I got one more thing to do to the boy, add some contrast. I go back to Image, back to Adjustments, and this time I'm a gonna pick Brightness/Contrast. Just sliding that arrow to the right under Contrast is gonna make those whites pop straight at ya! hillbillies-bw-contrast.jpg

Take a look at the boy now! Those whites are clean as a whistle without losing any detail and the blacks are dark as a pig who spent the whole day rolling around in mud and then lay down in the sun just like a happy little piggy. Sooie!

January 18, 2008

Picture This! Mailbag: AllEars Photographers Answer Your Questions

Once in awhile, we'd like to share with you some of the questions we receive from our dear readers here on the Picture This! Blog. We find them challenging and we hope you find them informative.

Becky asked:

I know for film lenses, there is a conversion of 1.5x's if used on a digital SLR. If a person bought a DX lens, is there still a conversion or would an 18mm really be an 18mm?

Scott answered:

While Nikon DX lenses are built for the smaller digital sensors, they are still referred to in 35mm ranges. I guess it's easier for marketing? As an example, my 18-200mm VR zoom lens is equivalent to a 27-300mm full frame, note 35mm, camera lens. So, if you have a 50mm lens that would turn into a 75mm on a Nikon DX digital camera body.

Additional Information: You hear the term "crop factor" and "full-frame" when referring to different digital SLR cameras. Cropped means the image sensor is smaller than the traditional 35mm. Nikon SLRs are a 1.5x crop (meaning you muliply by 1.5 the focal length of the lens to get it's 35mm equivalent). Full-frame camera sensors are a full 35mm and have no crop multiplier. Examples of these cameras are the Canon 5D and Nikon D3. For more information, go to this link: Crop Factor Explained

Connie asked:

Please can you explain the "Rule of Thirds" in a very elementary way. To quote Denzel Washington from Phildaelphia. "Explain it to me like a 6 year old".

Barrie answered:

Hi Connie - the simplest way to follow the rule of thirds is to just make a point of not putting your subject in the center of the frame.

You can practice like this:

  1. Focus on something in the middle of your frame, the way you normally would.
  2. Hold the shutter release button halfway down.
  3. Move your camera slightly down and to the right until your subject falls somewhere (about halfway) between the center and the upper left corner. It doesn't have to be exact - wherever it looks best to you is perfect.
  4. Now move your camera again so the subject is halfway between the center and the bottom left corner. Next, try moving it towards the corners on the right hand side.
  5. When you find a spot that looks good to you, click the shutter release all the way down.

Laura asked:

I have been reading the Picture This blog since it started because I had
hopes of one day soon owning an SLR camera and I thought I would get a head start on my learning (I've always owned point and shoots--my current being a Canon Powershot 500). Last week I finally got my first SLR (Olympus Evolt 410). I'm realizing what a different world the SLRs are compared to the point and shoot cameras and I am really lost!

I've never taken a photography class, but majored in graphic design so I'm pretty proficient with shot layouts and Photoshop. My question is, since I have no background working with a 'real' [note: dSLR] camera, what books and/or resources should I use to help educate myself? I am much more of a visual learner than I am a reading learner. I'm going to WDW at the end of January and I'd like to have learned enough to be able to bring my new camera with me.

Lisa suggested:

A DVD tutorial on the Olympus Evolt E-410

Olympus' webpage for the Evolt E-410 with introduction video

Barrie suggested:

Hi Laura - I am the kind of person that learns new things from books. I learned all my computer skills that way, reading those big 4 inch software how-to books. I have had a heck of a time learning photography that way though. I've read many books but these are the ones I've learned the most from:

This one is really good, recommended by pretty much everyone.

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera by Bryan Peterson

This one, and the next one, are great beginner books. They're very easy reads. The one below is coming out next week I think. [note: It is now available.]

The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby

The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2 by Scott Kelby

Scott suggested:

Here's a nice blog article on digital SLR exposure:

Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed - The Good Kind of Threesome

Yeah, the blog title is a bit interesting to say the least but it's very informative. :-)

We hope you like this feature and if you have any questions about digital photography, in general, or at Walt Disney World, in particular, just send us a comment via the link you'll find just below our articles. Thank you for reading!

January 20, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #24

This was Challenge #23:
Where in the World #23

And here's the answer:
Mexico Pavilion Detail
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/125s shutter, f5.6

The Mexico Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase is the home of last week's photo challenge. This is a close-up of a sculpture on the side of the building. Willie Tople was the first with the correct answer - way to go, Willie!

Congratulations also go out to Christina Romano, Evelyn Cowdell, Aruna Mohan, Brian G, Garland Cox, Laura Barnes, Tim Rachuba, Matt Taylor, Vickie Scioneaux, Allison DiBiase, Becky Sutton, Paula Chapman, Carrie Brenon, Barbara Zimdars, Melissa DeMonbreun, Suzie Marchetti, Kelli Vancil, Mike Stanilla, Noreen Rachuba, Ann Carr, Stacey Barboza, Jeff Warmington, and Patty Sautters. All of you also gave the correct answer and will be entered in the January winner's drawing.

Challenge #24: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #24

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

January 23, 2008

Light Meter: ISO - Advanced

All our lives we've bought film of various speeds such as 100, 200, and 400. These numbers are the film's ISO (International Standards Organization). The lower the number the more light is required to get the correct exposure. That is to say that 100 ISO is ideal for daylight whereas 400 is best for indoor photos taken with a flash. Digital cameras have ISO as well.

I am categorizing this blog as "Advanced" simply because not all point and shoot cameras allow the user to change the ISO but rather let the camera make that decision for you. A few cameras that allow you to manually make this selection are Nikon Coolpix P5000, Canon SX100 IS, Olympus Stylus 830, Pentx Optio Z10, and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18K.

If you are shooting in a manual mode, you are deciding which F-Stop (aperature) and shutter speed to use. This is particularly important if you are trying to freeze something in motion or are looking for a certain effect. By changing the ISO you can alter your image. Let's take a look at some sample photos.

All photos were taken with the Canon Powershot A570 IS, f5.6, 1/60. It was 4 PM on an overcast day, a Thursday to be exact.

Today's model is ...missing. In such a situation as this, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Overcast days can appear to be brighter than they actually are because of low clouds. A speed of 80 is too slow and so the image is underexposed.

You can see a slight difference as the ISO is altered to 100.

Here you can really see a change. The subject is easier to see and things are brightening up but we can do better.

Now the skin tone is right on, there's detail in the shadows and highlights. This is the perfect exposure.

A faster speed such as 800 is too much and so the photo is starting to look washed out.

Obviously 1600 is too much for this lighting situation and the image is overexposed.

January 25, 2008

Photographic Innoventions: Your Pictures in HD

Did you get a new High Definition (HD) TV for Christmas? You might want to pull out it's user manual and see how you can get your digital photos to display on it. Most come with a way to hook up your camera or computer directly to a video input. Some, like the Samsung DLP HDTV I own, have a USB port and built-in photo viewing program. I copy some photos to a USB Flash drive on my computer then plug it into the TV's USB port. I select the photo viewer program called Wiselink from the HDTV's menu and it displays the contents of the drive (see photo).

There is a gotcha. When copying the photos to the USB drive, I make sure the photos are 1920 pixels in width to fill the HDTV's screen. However, since my digital camera does not produce an HDTV's screen ratio of 16x9, I still end up with black bars on the left and right side of each picture. This is not a big deal for me because the large, bright and clear image displayed is still breathtaking. It's a very easy way to show others your photos without everyone having to crowd around a small computer screen.

I have noticed many of the newer cameras now have a 16x9 ratio selection when taking photos. Those images would completely fill the screen. Check your camera's manual to see if it supports this feature.

Back to my HDTV, I can either manually select and view each photo or start up a slideshow which displays each photo in sequence for a set number of seconds. I can even add music while it's running. This is a far cry from the days of bulky white movie screens, loud slide projectors and long boring presentations by the photographer. Well, two out of three isn't bad!

Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-70DX, 1/160s, f/6.3, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 50mm Focal Length

January 27, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #25

This was Challenge #24:
Where in the World #24

And here's the answer:
Casey's Grandstand
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/60s shutter, f4

On Main Street in the Magic Kingdom is a counter service restaurant called Casey's Corner. Casey's the place to go when you have a taste for a good old fashioned hot dog. Decorated with old baseball memorabilia, the seating area at Casey's is designed to resemble a grandstand from days gone by. You can sit on the bleachers and enjoy your hot dog while watching old Mickey cartoons on a big screen.

Congratulations to Melissa Mathias, this week's winner. In addition to Melissa, Kevin Gramlin, Mike Chappell, John Williamson, Wendy Haseneier, Sharon Pierce, Bill Nuzzo, Stacey Van Dyke, Angie Young, Pat Stockhaus, Renee Soderberg, Brenda, Sheila Filipone, Chris Maupin, Trygve Cumpston, Rhonda Jackson, Terri McAleer, Michael Belemjian, John Frangakis, Austin O'Blenis, Caryn Schill, Amie Mumpower, Jane Bradley, Doug Uccollo, Kathy Lowe, Jessica Romano, John Kaanta, Bill Bathel, Elisa Dillon, Kevin Sommer, Ed Aleszczyk, Scott Price, George Z, James Tweedy, Shelley Eggert, Brittany Vander Wal, John Lacasse, Debbi Bozeman, John Harmon, Scott Bauer, Dick Nussbaum, Lou Baker, Larry Gionet, Christina Romano, Joe Marrella, Michelle Raimist, Jim Thompson, Jos Rohrbach, John Burgess, Christine Rigney, Paul Pinzer, Bridget, Gary, Nicole Blount, Bryan McIntyre, Jim Barnick, Scott Cullen, Eric Bouchet, Buddy, Chris Thomas, Jim Greenhouse, Kathy Knight, Ed Horn, Melissa Hallenbeck, Terrie Waltich, Tommy Turner, John Pasqueralli, Steve Seibert, Mike Timmerman, Mike Holland, Phillip T. Stewart, Kelly Ware, Ken Hegburg, Kenny Cruz, Linda Norton, Cheryl Edwards, David Freemyer, Adam, Anthony Iarriccio, Jen Cerce, Bill Androckitis Jr., Cindy Bunch, Jude Toups, Jane Kubarsky, Tracey Yates, Kelly Sutton, Brian Gardner, Alyssa Nutter, Kyle Ellis, Nadine Anderson, Kevin Scharf, Todd Stevens, Liz Myrato, Heather Young, CJ, Betsy Richter, Mike Kaczanowski, Leslee Rigoli, John Zawisza, Kelly Michael, Ali, Debbie Beineman, Lori LaPointe, Michele Kaanta, Erica Andrews, David Rhoad, Margaret West, Kim Christian, Jennifer Kaufman, Mike Cross, Pollyanna Buff, Pat, Ruthie Hatch, Bob Sertic, Daniel James McCarthy, Erin McAuliffe, Mildred Popp, Regina Allen, Kim Tidwell, Marilyn Flanigan, Kandice, Charles Wright, Susan McAbee, Julie Bozeman, Cindy Dore', George Taylor, Jennifer Bowling, Debra Ulicny, Heather Cottell, Jen Carpenter, Lauren, Ellen Quinn, Emily, Michael Greer, Patty Carty, Brandy White, Kimberly Wilson, Chris Kotcamp, Krista Penno, Kurt Nank, Kristen Paolello, Malima Wolf, Jeff Swearingen, Carla Kumm, Mike Leonard, Jeff Sims, Jen Renaud, Danielle Mahoney, Dan McDonald, Ed Hogan, Vickie Woods, Brandon Wilson, Arthur Hutchinson, Mark & Meg Wilson, Julie LaChance, Elaine Johnson, Tim Rachuba, Jim Newman, Kristen Baustert, David Lizewski, Monica Maury, Joe, Larry Carter, Tom Michel, Paul Perrin, Karen, Ann Fowler, Dan Hawkins, Dennis Baylis, Katie Rohrbach, Maria Mounsey, EG, Melissa Wheeler, Ken Kleiner, Regina L Tipton, Patricia Ovesny, Rebecca Payne, Amanda Campbell, Luis Rodriguez, Lauren, Garland Cox, Nathan Firth, Mary Virginia Bartlett, Anderson Dun, Ron Harper, Nick Straka, Morgan Tosczak, Nate Clements, Frank F. Fincken III, Leslie Tischler, Jeff Kincaid, Brian Yesutis, Mary Brennan, Scott Stout, Michael Gainey, Jackie Revoir, Melissa Blackwell, Kim Moore, Tina, Jennifer Tremley, Sheila Saey, Heather McFall, Dina Hodara-Bono, Sally Fralix, Kathy Francis, Becky Rodriguez, Kelly DeLeon, Jan Thompson, Scott Weber, Tim Cooper, David Lampl, James Hajek, Katrina Drillien, Chip Vermette, Brian Martsolf, Denise Dossat, Pat Holt, Ken Fischler, Ed Crawford, Karen Korcheski, Tara Jachimczak, Dolly Desiderio, Boyd, Emily Foreman, Tara M., Jennifer Cicchetti, Denise Duggan, Joan Weisse, Christine Schuler, James Hickey, Jim Hammell, Arthur, Jamie Poynton, Chris Bertelmann, Cathy Messer, Sharon Lee, Jamie Gardner and Robert Flaherty all gave the correct answer and were entered in the January winner's drawing.

Phew - that was a lot! Now, drumroll please... the prize winner for this month is Erica Andrews.

For this next challenge, I am looking for a little more detailed of an answer than usual. There is something very special about this photo. In addition to where it is located you have to be able to tell me what is special about it. Do you know? Starting this week, please send in your answer before the end of the day on Thursday to be entered in the contest.

Challenge #25: Where in the world is this and what is special about it?

 Where in the World #25

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, by clicking HERE!

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

January 30, 2008

Light Meter: Copyright Law FAQ

In this installment of Light Meter, I'll address common questions and concerns that I field very often in regards to copyright and photographs. I'll take you through some typical conversations my colleagues and I have had and finish up with personal stories of how my copyright was infringed upon and how things were settled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Copyright Law?
A: It is a Federal Law, established in 1976, that protects the photographer and or studio as the creator and author of all images taken.

Q: I have my child's school photo and I'd like to make copies. Can I?
A: Not without written pemission from the photographer or studio in the form of a Copyright Release.

Q: If I bought the print, don't I own the copyright?
A: No, only the person who took the photo owns the copyright.

"Copyright is the right of the creator of the work or the creator's heirs not of the person who found or possesses the photos." - The Library of Congress

Q: How long does a copyright last?
A: This can be tricky. Anything created after January 1, 1978 is protected for as long as the creator lives plus 70 years after their death. Copyrights can also be passed along to heirs. Images created prior to January 1, 1978 also receive the same treatment so long as they weren't previously registered or published. Images that were published or registered and taken before January 1, 1978 are protected for 95 years.

Q: Can I print a photo I found online or place it on my webpage or website?
A: No, digital images are also covered by copyright. There are websites that will sell you the right to print an image for personal use such as iStockPhoto.

Q: What happens if you print them and get caught?
A: The photographer may sue you in Federal Court as well as the business that reproduced the image. Be prepared to pay thousands of dollars in fines and fees.

And now it's time for Conversations At Work.

Customer: I'd like to have this photo *blown up.
Employee: This photo was taken professionally. Unfortunately, we cannot reproduce it without written consent from the photographer.
Customer: This is my son. I own this.
Employee: You own your son and you own that print but only the photographer owns the copyright. You'll have to purchase prints from the photographer or obtain written consent.
Customer: Then I'll scan it myself! Where's your scanner?
Employee: It doesn't matter who scans it. We're not able to print it.
Customer: Then I'll go to (drugstore chain)!
Employee: The Copyright Law does not cease to exist there.
Customer: You're just making things up.
Employee walks away.

*Asking to have a photo "blown up" may result in a joke regarding dynamite.

Customer: Can you help me use this computer?
Employee: Sure. Which images are you printing?
Customer: These photos (pointing) of the cars.
Employee: Wow! Those are fantastic shots. Did you take these?
Customer: No, I downloaded them from the Internet and burned a CD.
Employee: I'm sorry to tell you that we can't print them for you because they're protected by copyright law and not intended to be printed.
Customer: Ohhhh. I really like them.
Employee: Me too, they're great! You can buy posters of cars at AllPosters or BareWalls.
Customer: Hey, thanks!

Story time!! The following actually happened to me.

I was shooting and attending a concert one night in Los Angeles. I had photographed this particular group before and my photos were published in a very well known magazine. After the concert my friend saw a crowd gathered 'round looking at photos someone was selling. She told me I'd better go and check it out.

A woman had taken pictures of my published photos, straight out of the magazine and was selling them as 4x6's. She also had a stack of pictures she took of other published photos. I know the other photographers she ripped off.

I informed this woman that I was the original photographer and that what she was doing was illegal. She knew it was illegal. I gave her 2 choices, give me all of the prints she had or be arrested. She gave me the photos.

Her partner was also selling my work and so I demanded all that he had as well. The woman's excuse for breaking the law? "You're rich."

My friend co-designed a ticket for a concert that was filmed and aired on television by a huge production company. She asked if she could use one of my photos if she paid me and put my copyright on it. Yes, we had a deal. She sent all of the artwork to the production company on a disc.

Later, a fan emailed me that she saw parking passes being sold online for the event. When I got to the page, I saw the parking pass. It had the full image of the singer on it, my image. While the ticket only showed the singer's head, the parking pass and VIP Pass (also online) had the entire shot. This was not part of the deal.

I called my friend and told her to get on it. Apparently this production company thought they were dealing with a fan who thought it'd be cool if they used her photo. Wrong!

How was this resolved? I billed them and they had no choice but to pay it or face a lawsuit. Yes boys and girls, even companies who copyright their own TV specials play games.

Want to learn more?
Copyright in the digital world It's an older article but still holds true.

Disney's involvement in copyright extension

Everything you want to know and more

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About January 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Picture This! in January 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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