I guess it had to happen eventually… our professional photographic community got an e mail from The Nines Hotel this week detailing a new fee schedule for any photographs taken on their property. This makes sense for a hotel trying to just be a hotel instead of a destination for anyone in town with a camera… yes, it’s a very pretty space but it’s a private space and, understandably, they have gotten very tired of tripping over photographers. I get that. My concern is that the brides might not understand and it will be a budget issue in every case. The fees are high enough to give everyone pause, high enough that the wedding client should not expect her photographer to carry the fee. If you are planning your wedding day with this hotel as part of it, please be ready for the conversation with your professional photographer.
There is also now an annual fee to photograph clients in Portland’s public spaces… if your photographer doesn’t have that big yellow permit hanging from her bag, chances are you might get kicked out of the park. These are things that you, as clients, need to be aware of. Do your homework, hire the pros so that your plans go smoothly.
If this is the beginning of the crackdown, we will all need to step back and have a very serious discussion about expectations on both sides of the issue. Maybe it’s time to require that photographers be licensed… maybe if we are actually serious about this line of work, we will treat it more carefully, with more respect.
Happy to answer any questions you might have in this complicated process.
Some images that I post are from quite some time ago… given the new tools and the learned skills, I like to see how different the images can be from my original working. Meg and Trevor got married in 2006 and it seems like a lifetime back in my digital world. The cameras have improved immensely and the range of the tools in PhotoShop are so much more sophisticated… it’s a treat to pull an old file and run it new again. I don’t know if this is something other photographers do or not. I used to do it with my negatives as my darkroom skills improved… even film wasn’t a static thing.
I guess it’s like a good marriage… you learn as you go, you polish the old things from time to time… you remember.
As in last week’s post, I am running an image from a recent wedding in Wasco. I was the second camera for Randy Kepple, my esteemed and wonderful friend. I don’t shoot for other photographers… still getting the hang of of it, I am not used to hanging back. With Randy, I try to keep out of his way and still bring him images he can use… this one was something he was shooting from a different angle and I lined mine up in a fashion that Amy and Juston might like. This is another of my mixed-tech shots. Digital camera focused on the viewfinder of a Kodak Duaflex from about 1950. It takes a little time and a few tries for the best focus but I love the feel of it… new becoming old and made to last for a very long time.
New Mexico was a game changer in my life.
In 1994, I stashed most of my ego into a back pocket and signed up for a workshop in Santa Fe… it was a little rough for a very short time. My photographic education was completely homespun to this point. My parents were both serious photographers, if not full time professionals… they had vision and enthusiasm to spare but technique, in our small house, was limited. So I brought a bit of a chip to this class and discovered, to my delight, that I was in a crowd of my peers… we were all there to fine tune a thing we already knew.
Long story short, I found that a solid week of photography and photographers was a balm to my inner skin… no phones, no real housework, no outside life… no contest.
The textures and light that make up Santa Fe and it’s near neighbors were a healing time to me and they return to tease my mind on many a grey day here.
My teacher that amazing week was Kent Barker. Out of Dallas at the time, he was subtle and easy to talk to… a sweet sense of humor, his work was very strong.
He took us two hours north of Santa Fe to his friend’s art gallery in Tres Piedras… a hot pink adobe schoolhouse sitting all by itself on the Taos Mesa.
Imagine 18 photographers, 10 white dogs and a stormy afternoon sky… it was like a dream.
New Mexico pulled me back for many trips in the next seven years. I went until I couldn’t afford to go again but I am not done.
My camera will dance under those wide skies again some day.
Photographers must all have a longish list of shots that we only took in our head… I can’t be the only one.
Opera Boy and I went to Venice for the first time in 2006. We got to our little hotel completely beaten up by the flying. The tall windows in our room looked out over Campo San Stefano… interesting and busy in the late afternoon light.
So we walked to stretch out and find a quick meal, stealing to bed as it got dark… it was like drifting off to sleep on a movie set… the cafes don’t get going until after dark so all of the friends and laughing people gathering for dinner mingled with faint music and, always, the sound of heels on stone.
I woke up at dawn and looked out the window… trying to identify a sound.
Here is where you will have to imagine the Campo empty save for one man and a two wheeled blue cart. He was sweeping the whole place with a long brush broom… made of twigs like we see in our fairy tales. No cars in Venice, of course, so he is the garbage service.
I was so entranced by the whole thing, I had to just watch. The camera, in the unpacking of it, would have made me miss something I wanted to see.
I went back to bed but my dreams were colored by that early morning encounter. Next time, I will be better prepared.
Just for the record, I hate having to string my name across my images. I find it distracting beyond measure.
I wanted to take a moment here to talk about the why of copyright because I know many of you are annoyed by the whole thing. The watermarks are embedded to keep people from taking any posted image and distributing it as they please. Between you and me, the wedding images are kind of personal to the bride and groom… yes, I hold the intellectual property rights but, in the end, these are private photos. In this definition, I am not worried about someone posting a couple of my images for their friends and I hope they don’t mind having my name on them. The real rub is the Craig’s List sort of guy who decides to farm legitimate sites for good work that he can use to build an online portfolio. The work isn’t his and he brings all of the legitimate shooters down in the process. There isn’t really any way to warn potential clients about this but they need to know, going in, that fraud runs rampant in our lives these days… you truly have to do your homework to avoid it.
Portland has a very large and wonderful community of true and professional photographers… don’t get sucked into the dark side. Just saying…
Just a heartfelt thanks to a colleague who is becoming a good friend.
Randy Kepple is a fine photographer in my local circle…his work speaks for itself but I am here to talk about his willingness to help other photographers.
In terms of professional camaraderie, Portland has been an unusually chummy town as far as I can tell. For at least 15 years, the best and brightest have been on a social cruise….yes, there are ebbs and flows within our circles, some people hang out more than others and some just skim the edges but, mostly, we all feel pretty free asking questions, sharing technological details, and just providing moral support for each other. I don’t know too many other cities with this sort of long term dynamic. One of the most important things to come out of this group is professional back up. I doubt many brides give it much thought but I always have the ‘if I get hit by a bus’ conversation with mine. The clients need to know that if something happens to me, there is a group of professionals out there who will figure out how to get her wedding covered at her original agreement without sacrificing the style of work she was hoping for.
Randy Kepple and JP of AJ’s Studio joined Craig Mitchelldyer to forge a communal blog for 24 of Portland’s best wedding photographers. I believe these guys slept standing up for at least two weeks. The result is a great blog called My Portland Photographer…. check it out. It launched at the beginning of March and has been going gang busters ever since. We have a great pool of talent in this town! These people are passionate and professional…these are not your weekend warriors… these are not your Craig’s list newbies.
Back to Randy. I had recently taken on the task of updating my ancient web site…a daunting task especially for a non geek like myself. I was doing pretty well with my template and advice from many of my colleagues…. pretty well, that is, until I started to look at the blog set up. My brain froze. I called Randy as he is one of about 3 gurus I can ask about the complex stuff and he basically held my hand for a week and a half to get this thing set up. He was in new territory for parts of it and he just kept plowing forward. I would most certainly be blogless if he hadn’t helped. He may not realize how much help and advice he made available. I know he has a life of his own and a business to feed…if I can ever return the favor of his time, I will… no questions asked.