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January, 2010:

Book Review: The Photographer’s Legal Guide by Carolyn E. Wright

Photographer's Legal Guide - CoverTo be honest, reading any kind of book about the legal aspects of photography—from taxes, to corporate structures, to copyright laws, to government regulations—not only makes me want to never shoot another image, it also brings out a seething, anarchic, vigilante side of me.  I suddenly feel like hurling bombs at government buildings and torturing IRS agents with a cattle prod.  This is probably wrong, but I suspect I’m not alone in this reaction.

After all, most of us take up photography because we are artists at heart.  If we were interested in tax laws or the differences between S-Corporations and C-Corporations we would have gone to business school or law school.  You might even say that we incline toward photography precisely to the degree that we hate that kind of stuff.

So I suppose we ought to be grateful that there are people like Carolyn Wright, who is both a practicing attorney and a professional photographer, and who has written a guide to help the rest of us navigate the legal swamps that surround the business of photography. (more…)

Lens Repair Blues (or Don’t Do What I Did)

Canon Lens

The posterior of my Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

I’m kicking myself.  Maybe I shouldn’t be, because the guy at the camera repair shop says it’s probably not my fault, but still…

Here’s the story.   After returning from the Burning Man festival, I knew my cameras needed cleaning but I put it off for a long time.  So one day recently I got them out and started cleaning—and I noticed a weird little spot on the rear lens element of my Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.

I can’t tell if it’s a water spot (how would that even happen?) or perhaps something that’s been there forever and I never noticed.  It’s faint, and my test shots don’t seem affected by it, but it bothers me. This is my main workhorse lens, and I want it to be perfect. (more…)

How to Take Better Photos at Burning Man (and Beyond!)

Burning Man Art ProjectThe annual Burning Man festival held in the Nevada desert is a photographer’s dream:  A surreal landscape populated by bizarre machines, monstrous, mind-boggling art projects, and the world’s most outrageously costumed characters all trying to outdo each other with sheer creativity.  Each year approximately 50,000 people attend this weeklong event, and for many photographers it is the annual pilgrimage not to be missed. (more…)

New Year’s Eve Party Challenge: How to Shoot an Event in a Dark Warehouse

New Years Eve Party - Painted GirlIf you’d like to view the photos before reading about it, see New Year’s Eve Party. (Warning: Some are slightly NSFW, no nudity, but there are some, um, colorful people here).

It’s the worst possible conditions for photography: a vast, crowded warehouse, minimal light, and no ceiling to bounce a flash from.  But somehow we’ve gotta light this scene!  We know that on-camera flash sucks and will make everything look flat and washed out like a DMV driver’s license photo. So my first inclination is to carry a wireless-triggered speedlite in my outstretched left hand while shooting with the camera in my right.  That would get a nice angle on the light and make everyone pretty.

But this is New Year’s Eve.  I’m wearing a tux, and a speedlite won’t fit in my pocket, and besides, I want to keep one hand free to embrace friends or carry a cocktail.

The solution? (more…)

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