Today we’re announcing the official winners from our KelbyOne/Lexar Architectural Photography Contest. From the hundreds of entries on Instagram, here’s our Winner, Runner Up, and our three Honorable Mentions (who all win prizes, courtesy of our contest partner Lexar Memory )

Winner: Rolf Hartbrich
https://www.instagram.com/rhartbrich/
> Rolf wins a 128GB Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader

 

Runner up: Cory Lerr
https://www.instagram.com/cory_kerr_photography
> Cory wins a 64GB Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader

Honorable Mentions: 

David Queenan  | @davidqueenan
David wins a Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader

James Hannick@jameshannick.photography
James wins a Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader

Lori Novak@laurinovakphoto
Lori wins a Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader

Congratulations to all of our featured artists above, and high-five to those who didn’t win for entering the competition. It takes moxie to put your images out there like that in competition, and I have great respect and applause for all the photographers who took submitted images. There were a lot of great images submitted, which made my job that much harder, but I can’t complain — I got to enjoy all these wonderful entries during the judging process.

Special thanks to Joey Lopez and the crew at Lexar Memory for being our partners and sponsors on this contest. Make sure you all follow @lexarmemory on Instagram and Twitter. 

Have a great weekend everybody!

-Scott

P.S. Shout out to the awesome folks in San Antonio who came out to my seminar there yesterday. Really fun crowd, in a really great town. Next stop: Houston on Monday! 

Users Guide For The Sony A7R III with Larry Becker
Attention all Sony A7R III owners! Larry Becker has a fantastic guide to help you get the most out of this full featured camera from Sony. This class is designed with the advanced enthusiast to pro photographer in mind. Larry starts off with a look at the things you need to know to get up and running quickly, and then proceeds through shooting modes, autofocus options, video capture, customizations you can make, and a whole lot more.

In Case You Missed It
Photograph your kids sports like a pro! Join Rob Foldy, professional sports photographer, as he teaches you the basic photographic principles that will make your subjects proud. This is not a class on gear, but Rob does show you how to use what you have, and how to configure your camera for the best results. You’ll also learn the importance of storytelling and how being prepared before you go to the game will help you take your photographs to the next level. Rob brings it all together by working with three parents while they photograph their kids’ soccer game, providing them tips for shooting with everything from a mobile phone to a DSLR.

Ed and Jack are still “Blue in the Face” over copyright registration changes. 

We’re Still Blue in the Face Over Stuff
The two of us want to thank Scott for the opportunity to spread the word about some new and mostly terrible changes in copyright registration rules. As soon as we called Scott he immediately saw the need to get the news out. Ed and I as usual talk until we’re “blue in the face” about copyright issues, and these changes are making us “bluer than blue.” These new copyright registration changes will have a huge impact on photographers registering their copyrights. Understand that these are not changes in the copyright law itself but rather to the procedures you must use to register your works.

These changes have been instituted by the US Copyright Office (USCO), which is the only place you can register your images in the United States.  Those who follow us know registration is critical in protecting your copyright rights. With very rare exceptions, without a registration you cannot bring an action in court to prosecute a case for copyright infringement. The registration received from USCO is the “key to the courthouse’ you need it to pursue your case. Photographers that have deep pockets loaded with Benjamins will cope with the new rules easier than the vast majority of creatives who are not flush with cash. Let us explain, in plain English.

The three words we dread to see on our favorite products when we hike to the grocery store are, “New and Improved!” (Always with one or two exclamation points). Uh oh. Usually, it’s a new box design around our cereal or a new jar holding our peanut butter. And gloryoski, the price and the taste are still the same. But wait a minute; any shopper over 8 years old knows what’s coming next. There is less cereal in the box or less peanut butter in the jar, it tastes exactly the same. What the……? What’s “new and improved” is the smaller package and better bottom line for the manufacturer, not for us.

The Copyright Office has announced substantial, “new and improved” changes to the registration process. New? Yes. Improved? Not so much…at least for photographers. These changes will take effect on February 20, 2018.The new procedures will affect the registration of both published and unpublished images. Details have been promised by the Copyright Office and should be downloadable at Copyright.gov by the time you read this. (That is the official USCO site. Ignore commercial sites with similar addresses).

But excuse us as we’re “burying the lead” in this story. The major change, that which will really impact photographers, is not the fact that the $55 application fee (which not too long ago was $35) will not be going up. It stays at $55. That’s the good news. The bad news is akin to that new and improved cereal box, where you’re getting a whole lot less value for your money. And we mean a lot less. After February 20th, you will be limited to 750 photos on a $55 application. That 750 is the cap, the maximum number of images which will now be permitted per $55 application. Like these guys never heard of a motor drive on a camera?

To some photographers 750 images is a big number and more than adequate for them. If however you’re a professional photographer, like a wedding photographer or an advertising photographer, shooting 2,000 or 4,000 or more on multi day shoots is not unheard of. Before this February 20th change, you could register thousands of photos with one application. Jack talks at our lectures about a photo shoot in Africa where he shot 13,000 images. He registered all 13,000 as a single collection for $55. At the new 750 limit it means that Jack’s 13,000 images from his Africa trip would take 17.3 applications to register. OK, let’s edit a bit and call it 17. That would cost him $935 dollars to register his Africa images rather than $55. One of our friends shoots beauty, fashion and cosmetics. Shooting 4,000 or 5,000 images in a two-day shoot is pretty common.

For another example, let’s look at the amount a wedding photographer would typically shoot. Experienced wedding photographers (as opposed to the Uncle Bobs) tend to shoot tight, knowing that if they over-shoot, the editing and postproduction time costs them time and money. Let’s say that wedding photographer clamps down, turns off that motor drive, and shoots just 1,500 images in a day-long wedding (without kicking in the engagement shots). That registration of 1,500 now doubles to $110 for that registration, rather than $55 it would have cost to register 3,000 or 4,000 files previously. Try and pass that on to the bride and groom who are already upset at what the rose petals for the ring girl cost them.

Two of the reasons we advocated registering your entire shoot, all the images, no exceptions, all of the time is that first, it assured that everything you shot was registered and secondly, it speeds up the process. Registering it all took away the big speed bump of doing a tight edit. Well, welcome to the speed bump. Unless you have very, very deep pockets, you will need to do very tight edits to limit submissions to 750 or fewer which will inevitably delay your registrations.

As they say on TV: But wait! There’s more! When registering you now have to submit an Excel spreadsheet, a PDF, or some other accepted listing of all file titles of each image separately. New Rule (10): “The applicant must submit a sequentially numbered list containing a title and file name for each photograph in the group…”

All that can be easily accomplished, it’s just another added step for some. This was always required for registering published images, but not for a collection of unpublished images. Not a big hurdle, but still something that from now on will have to be done. More work…as if you needed it.

There isn’t really another way to protect your images, the only way is to register at the Copyright Office, even if it costs you more.

Some of the new directives seem to be written with someone’s tongue firmly planted in cheek. The one we really like is they point out while there is a 750 image limit now, you can submit as many registrations @ $55 as you want. The wording states: “But it is important to recognize that the final rule does not impose any limit on the number of applications that may be submitted at a given time.”

In other words, feel free to spend $935 rather than $55 for those 13,000 images. The Copyright Office will not limit, will not put a ceiling, on how much it now costs you. So if you want to buy the smaller volume cereal box at the same old price, you can buy as many boxes as you want. Yeah, thanks. No limit to my added overhead expenses. It is as if that “$55 All You Can Eat Buffet” now has new signage, “$55 All You Can Eat On This Small Size Plate Buffet”.

We have found that no single factor has encouraged photographers to register their work than the ability to register thousands of images at one time and for one affordable fee.

Another issue that is adding a shade of blue to our faces is the buzz around Blockchain technology. This part reads better if you put on a recording of Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang.” (Hooh aah) (Hooh aah). We think the technology of Blockchain ledgers could be revolutionary for our industry. The technology is very promising if and when computer speeds improve, and especially if the Copyright Office embraces it for registration.

Now, we’ve seen some private companies advertising that their blockchain technology “registers” your image. All we can say is, “no,” it does not. Only a registration with USCO has any legal weight. Other “registrations” are misleading and serve little to no purpose. It’s the equivalent of the old copyright myth of putting your photo in a sealed envelope and mailing it to yourself. All that proves is that you mailed yourself a photo. These private company “registrations” have no legal benefit as far as copyright protection is concerned. Just the use of the word “registration” is in our view, inherently misleading.

Take Kodak and their KodakOne business model. Our once beloved Kodak (Oh Kodak, Kodak, wherefore art thou Kodak) has taken a strange turn into using blockchain technology. You’d have to be a blockhead to get involved there. Kodak has been slammed in the trade press and in the NY Times about how what they’re offering is a bit of a scam. You can read more in this NY Times article that slams Kodak titled Kodak’s Dubious Cryptocurrency Gamble. Unless Kodak can demonstrate otherwise – none of our money on that bet – we tend to agree with the Gray Lady.

In our opinion, this says it all when it comes to KodakOne’s schemes.

Kodak is hardly alone in attempting to pull cash from photographer’s pockets these days. There are now numerous “search and rescue” service companies where you sign up to their terms (which no one reads) and they use their “technology” to find infringements of your work and collect settlements. How alluring it is for someone else to do all of the work. Most people signing up, who don’t read the fine print, don’t realize that they are giving up their Constitutional right to pursue a litigation with an attorney of their choosing and if they prevail, are entitled to seek an award of attorneys fees. These search firms staffed by non-lawyers with little to no expertise have first crack, the right of first refusal, at resolving the infringements and then they take 50% of the settlement. Lawyers who know the value of your claims are omitted from the process unless the infringer is smart enough to force the search firm to hire one, and any sophisticated IP lawyer representing an infringer knows that these search firms like to settle early and cheap.

The short version is that the company will attempt to collect much less than the infringement is worth so long as they can do so quickly and without hiring a lawyer whose fees bring down the amount of any net recovery. When needed, they hire the cheapest lawyer they can engage who will sometimes screw up your case. On this Reddit thread, you can read about someone who was told over a period of time that these legal matters take time. They kept saying that right up until the time they said, “Awww, forget about it. We’re dropping the pursuit of this infringement. Not worth our time”. When Ed gets calls from photographers who now have to pursue such a case on their own, he generally refuses to take them, because negotiations with the infringer were started at unrealistically low amounts and you can’t suddenly restart pre-existing negotiations with new proposals, which would now reflect true worth. The legal real world doesn’t work that way. It’s not a board game, once started, you can’t go back to go.

These “services” rely on illustrators, photographers and artists being ignorant of the USC Title 17 – The Copyright Law. We address issues about these services in our article “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” located on our blog TheCopyrightZone.com.

These services hire inexperienced, non-lawyers to evaluate and typically settle early claims, the true value of which they know not. Early, quick, cheap settlements mean little to no work on their part. Artists like to avoid conflict and think that these services will make them money. Naively they do not realize that any competent attorney will put far more money in their pocket on any viable case. That takes some work. We like to emphasize that one should never, ever assigns the right to pursue or defend their copyrights to anyone.

What you can end up with, or next to this, when using these “search and rescue” services that will hunt the Internet for copyright infringements and then they have first refusal rights to pursue cases for you.

These “search and rescue” services are simply not law firms. Staffers at these services need no level of expertise or experience in the industry, they have no “legal” experience. And when and if they decide to employ a lawyer, they hire lawyers without your input. When a company with a lot of business to throw around, hires a lawyer, said lawyer might see more of an allegiance to the company, rather than to the individual. If you retain you own attorney, that lawyer has one allegiance and it is only to you. The business model of these “search and rescue” services – frequently located in the EU – makes no sense for anyone who registers his or her images and has any understanding of copyright law. If, heaven forbid, you required major surgery, wouldn’t you prefer to select your own surgeon based on the suggestions of other doctors? Here some kid can be selecting your attorney for you, and guess what, you are stuck with that lawyer whether you like him/her or not.

Sorry to have to be the bearers of bad news on this blog piece, but an informed photographer is a prepared photographer. Prepared photographers come out with good results they’re happy with.  And prepared photographers don’t call us crying on the phone because they’re getting the shaft instead of the goldmine.

Jack and Ed when they’re not turning blue.

Jack and Ed’s musings on copyright and other business matters for photographers can be found at TheCopyrightZone.com. Jack’s website is Reznicki.com, and Ed’s website is GreenbergIPLaw.com. You can also watch Jack’s and Ed’s classes on KelbyOne!

All photos copyright Jack Reznicki, All Rights Reserved

Hey hey! Thanks for dropping by Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider today. I’m Dave Williams and this week I’m going to talk to you about the importance of personal projects.

First off, it’s important to note that personal projects are important! What projects do you have on the go or in the pipeline? During this post, some images will pop up. The disclaimer is this: – I’ve pulled these images from my archive and some are very old. As such, they should not be used to judge me. ;)

As a travel photographer, it’s fair to say that what that actually means is that I shoot a very broad range of subjects—landscapes, cityscapes, people, food, still life, long exposures. It really is a lot of different stuff. Every little personal project can, therefore, be a little extra experience, a little extra practice, a little extra notch in the belt, and a step towards perfection (not that I’ll ever get to that point) when it comes to my everyday shooting and my built-in “autopilot.” Here’s an example: –

 

 

Both of these personal projects helped me to understand light. On the one hand, it was about creating and controlling directional light, leaving nothing to fall on the background and creating the “invisible black background” (Glyn Dewis, 2010), and on the other, it was all about an even bathe of light, minimal highlights and shadows, across a flat-lay inspired by World War One. These helped when I translated them across a number of photographic “arenas,” including weddings and promotional Instagram posts to name just two.

What I’m trying to say here is that it’s the care and attention, the discovery of techniques and the understanding of different dynamics in the world of photography, which were picked up whilst working on projects, that have helped me to become more efficient and competent in my everyday photography.

It’s not just projects that relate to your particular field of photography that help, however. For example, I spent a lot of time working on a macro project. (And, I’m aware that there’s a very, very strong chance that Scott will disapprove of me posting this, but for what can be gleaned from this I’m taking that risk for you all. ;) Scott, close your browser now!)

 

I wanted to understand the mechanisms of lenses and depth of field. What better way to explore this than with macro photography? Understanding depth of field through the use of true macro 1:1 lenses, and through more extreme macro using reversing rings, helped me to also better understand light, the quantity and quality of light required, the effects of movement of lens glass—literally so much came from this project it’s unreal. That leads me to how it goes a step further from the camera and into retouching.

 

 

Once you’ve taken the shot in-camera, learning the ins and outs of Photoshop through these projects is also extremely beneficial. It can be an exploration of different tools and features and this, again, can translate to a faster workflow and a deeper understanding, which brings huge benefits to your everyday photography.

Most of us are stuck in habits with both our photography and our retouching, and bringing personal projects into your flow can bring you out of that “rut” and broaden your photographic horizons—sometimes to no end! Stepping out of your comfort zone, removing that safety net for the sake of development, and allowing yourself to be open to new ideas brings with it new skills and, potentially, new customers, too!

The other benefit is opening yourself up to a whole new community. Getting stuck and trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong can lead to engagement in online forums and groups from which you can learn and share. Win-win, right?

Think about it—we never stop learning, and if you can catalyse your learning and develop new skills through personal projects, you’ll keep yourself at the top of your game!

If you need inspiration for your personal project, just take a look at the massive range of photographers work up on the @kelbyonepics Instagram page, find something you don’t know how to do or that you’d like to improve on, and get on with it!
I hope this rapidly paced post has been helpful!

Much love

Dave

Happy Monday, everybody. I think I’ve got a good one for ya today (plus a free downloadable print template for you, too). It’s how to create a custom print layout that you can use in a Wedding Album (heck, you could use it for anything I imagine, but I was inspired by seeing this layout in an Australian Wedding magazine).

It’s quick and easy, and I show you how it’s done – all from scratch, and I also have a link below where you can download a print template I made of the layout (just to save you some time, but you should still watch the video, if for nothing more than to see how to install the template).

Hope you found that helpful.

Here’s the link to download the free Print Template I made just for you!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Don’t forget — you can save Print layouts as individual JPEG files. You do that in the Print Job panel at the bottom of the Right Side panels — from the ‘Print to’ pop-up menu choose JPEG file.

Once again, KelbyOne Members all over the world sent in entries, and these entries keep getting better and better, which makes the judging harder and harder. Nevertheless, we found an incredible photographer to honor with this own solo gallery show opening, and we’re excited to announce that our latest winner is UK-based photographer/Photoshop artist:

Ian Munro

Ian (and a guest of his choice) will be flown to Tampa, Florida to be there for the wine and cheese reception celebrating his own solo gallery show at “The Gallery at KelbyOne.” (Note: If you’re like “What’s this whole gallery thing?” check out this quick Q&A)

Ian’s fine art conceptual storytelling and his masterful post processing style really captivated the judges. We kept coming back to his images again and again, because of their understated humor, wonderful composition, and an overall sense of taking you to a fanciful, peculiar, and distinctively different time and place.

One thing we’re really excited to see is how amazing Ian’s images look printed big on the walls of the gallery (the images are printed using Bay Photo Lab‘s ‘Xpozer’ system for exhibition printing, and Ian’s images are going to rock printed in this medium).

You’re invited to Ian’s gallery opening:

7:00 pm on Friday, March 16th at the Gallery at KelbyOne (in the Tampa, Florida area). 

Immediately following the reception, we’ll move into the theater where we’ll be broadcasting a live 1-hour interview (hosted by Larry Becker) with Ian at 8:00 pm ET that evening (streamed live and open to everyone).

More details and a link to RSVP as we get closer to the opening.

I want to once again recognize my awesome wife Kalebra for coming up with this idea of honoring, uplifting and celebrating the work of the talented photographers, illustrators and artists in the KelbyOne community by providing them with added recognition and a new audience to enjoy their work. Who knows what doors this could open, and I’m thrilled we get to be a small part of it all.

Congratulations Ian – we can’t wait to share your fun, fascinating storytelling images with the world. :)

Best,

-Scott

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