Photographers and Subjects
Photographers can fall into many different categories ranging from those taking selfies with their own mobiles through to professional photographers who will normally charge based on their time spent at the photography session and in post-processing.
Professional photographers will range from those who are very experienced, knowledgeable and skillful with quality equipment, through to those who may have completed a basic course in photography such as a Certificate IV or Diploma, have very little experience and often use inexpensive entry level equipment.
In addition to those pointing and shooting their cheap digital cameras or smart phones at themselves and others, and professional photographers charging for their work, there is a significant group of other photographers.
There are those who are knowledgeable, experienced and skillful, with quality cameras and associated equipment, and who are passionate about their craft, but do not wish to make it their job.
I place myself in the last mentioned category. Photography has been a passion of mine for in excess of fifty years. As a teenager I had a Box Brownie camera which was the film equivalent of modern cheap digital cameras. My first "quality" camera I obtained in my later teenage years. It was a secondhand twin reflex Rolleicord hand-me-down from my father who had upgraded to a better camera. As with the Box Brownie, it also used 120 film with each film producing twelve, two and a quarter inch square format negatives.
My first 35mm SLR camera was a Nikon which I purchased in 1976 prior to a trip I was making to the USA and Canada.
For many years I developed my own film and with my bathroom as a make-shift darkroom, I enlarged and printed my own black and white prints.
Digital photography has been a relatively recent introduction. A really high quality digital camera is required to to even come close to the quality results produced with film cameras. Cheap and nasty digital cameras are fine for taking snapshots to be viewed on computer screens. But, try enlarging prints up to poster size and see how they look!
Unlike film cameras though, thousands of photographs can be taken with a digital camera at minimal expense.
Another benefit of digital cameras is the immediacy of the results. The photograph, and even a histogram of the photograph can be viewed shortly after it is taken if required. There also isn't the need to spend the same amount of time on composition and posing before taking the shot. Without the expense of film, the photographer can take many more photographs and at a later dater sort out the wheat from the chaff.
A commercial photographer's agreement with a client normally involves an agreement between both parties on the price to be paid by the client and what the client receives for that price. The client may receive an album with a certain number of prints, or they may have access to all the digital files of the photographs that were taken.
The arrangement that many photographers, including me, have with clients is what is generally called TFP. "TFP" is an acronym standing for "Time For Prints". Generally with this arrangement, the client, (model), will sign a Model Release Form, confirming that the photographer has copyright over the photographs that were taken. Normally a photographer will have copyright over photographs which she or he takes anyway, but the Model Release Form is added protection in case of future disputes. Often when recognisable buildings and/or property is involved, a photographer may also request that Property Release form be signed in addition.
The TFP arrangement also normally allows the model to have prints of the photographs taken, or more commonly these days with digital cameras, file copies of the photographs taken. Normally the arrangement between the photographer and the client will allow the client to post photographs on social media sites or other web sites, but not to sell any of the photographs. That remains the choice of the copyright holder of the photographs, the photographer.
Some TFP photographers may supply the client, (model), with a limited number of file copies of the photographs which they have digitally enhanced. This may be several days or even weeks after the shoot.
In previous times I would burn the file copies of photographs I had taken onto a CD and then post the CD to the models concerned. This arrangement worked reasonably well. However, on occasions the client would complain after some time that they had not received the CD. So, I would burn it once again and post the new one. Generally Australia Post was not to blame for non-delivery. Later I would hear the "real" story such as, "I thought the CD's that arrived were my daughter's music CD's", or something similar.
After a photo shoot, I am keen to view the results as quickly as possible. I believe most clients feel the same way.
For this and other reasons, I have changed the way in which I get the file copies of the photographs to the clients. Before file copies are ready for client viewing several processing steps are required.
When I photograph using my Nikon cameras, I have my cameras programmed to record each photograph in NEF, the Nikon raw format and also in fine quality JPEG. This requires the camera to have faster and higher capacity Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) cards, but I consider the extra expense worthwhile. Using the raw NEF format for digital enhancement does not result in loss of quality with each process. Whereas, if the JPEG images were used, a little quality would be lost with each consecutive process. The JPEG images are however needed for people to view on their computers and for posting images to web sites.
So, after a photo-shoot I upload both the raw NEF and the JPEG files onto external hard drives. A back-up of all photographs is always uploaded onto a second hard drive as a security measure on the off chance that one of them may decide to malfunction.
Normally, I then do the editing of the photos. After editing, I once again save the full size files onto external hard drives. I also reduce the size of these to a size suitable for uploading onto web sites. These resized files are then marked with a non-obtrusive watermark and made available to the models concerned.