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Blue Plate Special: the Proud Women of USA Diners and their Food

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Photo: Stephen Shaher

Jerard here from Chase’s crew. I love a good road trip. There’s nothing like the freedom and discovery of hitting the road with no real destination, no particular schedule and nothing but miles as your mission. I’ve driven the blue highways across the whole of America almost twenty times. Four times on a motorcycle. In all of those miles, there are some memories that fade into the blur of asphalt and double-yellow lines. But there other things that jump out with precise clarity. For whatever reason, food and the people who serve the food, are often among these memories. Places like the Hogs Breath Saloon, a watering hole somewhere between Kansas and Colorado. “Hog’s Breath is better than no breath!” BBQ beef on a kaiser and I can remember the way the waitress chewed her gum.

Hog’s Breath is better than no breath. -waitress between Kansas and Colorado

Swiss photographer Stephen Shaher took a massive road trip across America and created a fun project out of diner food and the characters who served it. The images feel real. You can smell the food and hear the voices of these waitresses. Design You Trust featured the work a while back (with the names and food order explained to boot) and while I dont think that Food&Wine magazine is going to be calling for any food photography from this project, the personality that comes through in these pairings of server and plates of diner cuisine is palpable. It makes me want to head back out on the road and find some hidden gems of Americana. Click through the tabs above to see Shaher’s series from his 2004 journey across the USA.

Photoshoot Secrets: Why Model Talent is Crucial & How to Cast For the Best

Hi friends, Megan here – I’m Chase’s primary on-staff producer. We just wrapped up a commercial shoot for a major sporting goods company and it required a monster amount of production. These tips are fresh on my mind and since it was a highly specialized sport shoot on a short time-frame (ie: challenging from a production standpoint) I thought I’d talk a little about the casting process for this type of job.

First, as you start to think about casting, you might want to consider the specific factors that are most important to both the client and photographer.

The LOOK (ie 6′ tall and blonde with blue eyes and long flowing hair)
If so, you probably want to start with your local talent agencies. You can find these online under ‘model’ or ‘talent’ agencies. They are abundant in most major metropolitan areas.

The SKILL (for this job it was athletic ability/running) 
If so, you may want to look for top-tier athletes in the given sport. You could reach out to local athlete groups, yoga studios, for instance, or running clubs. If you were shooting an ad for the circus you might need to find a juggler. There could be specific experience that your models need. You could also consider enlisting the help of a seasoned casting agent, who will be able to source potential talent from a variety of places. They, like model agencies, are abundantly available in most metropolitan cities worldwide.

The BUDGET.
Depending on your budget, you might be able to go world class with the talent from said agency above… OR…you may want to consider casting “real people.” That is, folks who probably aren’t represented by an agency and will work for a lower day rate, depending on their level of experience. These can be friends, part time models, or people you spot on the street who have a look you’re after. REMEMBER when sourcing these people: they usually have no experience, so you’re trading experience for a look. Sometimes that works great – other times it can cost you a lot because your production doesn’t move along as well as it should, as quickly as it should, with the right facial expressions, experience, etc. It’s a balancing act – and you usually get what you pay for.

In our most recent case for the job at hand, it was a combination of the above factors (and it often is…). We needed to find talent who were trained athletes with some experience modeling so they were comfortable running for a photographer – and within a well-defined budget. There’s a difference between folks who have been competing in track and field or marathons for years, and those who understand what it means to do it in front of a camera. Trust me. Athlete does not mean model and vice versa. The experience of understanding the need to repeat or hold certain body positions for the photographer comes from experience on photo shoots and will make the day run like clock work.

Since we were tasked with finding nine runners, we needed to be conscious of how quickly talent fees would add up. Enter Sports & Lifestyle Unlimited, an agency with branches in Portland and LA that represents highly skilled athletes. We were able to negotiate a fair rate for all parties involved…the model, the agency, and us. This was aided by the fact that we booked all but one of the models through them; you may have heard the terms “most favored nations” (everybody gets the same rate) or “economy of scale” (the more you use form one source or at one time, the easier it is to book for everyone, so there can be money saved…) used to describe our approach to this situation.

(other items that affect budget if you’re traveling models in for a shoot or having them for mulitple days or shoots for the same project…)

Travel days – what will you pay them for the time it takes to get to the shoot?
Shoot days – what is the daily rate for working in front of the camera?
Down days – what is the price for weather days or days when they’re at the shoot, but not in front of camera?
Per diems – this is a flat rate of money that you give models or production staff for non-shoot related meals. Guides for these amounts vary by region and are somewhat standardized… plenty of info on the ‘net.

Again, most agencies will work with you on these rates to arrive at something fair and reasonable.

The kicker to REMEMBER about BUDGET: Model agencies, like the rest of us, do work to make money. As such, model and talent agencies will add a 20% fee on top of Travel, Shoot + Down days, so be sure to factor that into your initial estimate. This is standard, fair practice and how agencies get paid.

Back to our story… Once we had received the talent + model specs from the client (i.e. age, height, ethnic diversity, “look”), we contacted SLU and requested a package of guys and gals that fit the bill. One of the things that was absolutely mandatory for us was running ability, so we asked to see a video of each of the talent submitted in addition to their portfolios + current snapshots. This is standard practice. Don’t be afraid to ask for this. The last thing you or your client wants is to get a good looking model on set that either a)doesn’t look like the shots on the talent website (ie shaved their head or similar) or b)can’t do the thing you need them to do as well as was represented when on the phone during booking.)

In addition to video, you may want to ask really specific questions of the talent (usually via the agent, but can be direct to talent on occasion…) that relates specific to the jargon of the activity you were told they were “an expert” at… For example if you’re looking for rock climbers, ask “what kind of climbing shoes do they own?” or “what level do they boulder at?” For runners, it might be “what was the last running event they ran in?”. You get the picture.

Our selections.
After Chase reviewed all submissions, we sent our recommendations to the client for consideration. After carefully considering who would work best for each of the shots we were tasked to shoot, they sent their selects to us for booking. At this point, if you have a shooting schedule already mapped out, it’s relatively straightforward to figure out the which talent you’re shooting on which day. In our case, the schedule depended entirely on locations + weather, so we ended up booking all nine talent for all shoot days in order to give us maximum flexibility. This isn’t the most cost-effective solution, but in this case, it was the only option for our situation.

When it was all said and done, our running talent was top-notch and total sweethearts, to boot. Worth every penny!

Let me know your success stories, failures, or — of course– if you have any questions. In production, it’s all about resources and who you know, so Kate and I are happy to share what we’ve learned throughout the years as best we can here on the blog :)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


“We shall never cease from striving – and the end of all our striving is to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.” -TS Eliot

Stephen Covey passed on today at 79.

The following is pulled from his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I admit to have gleaned a few important morsels out of this book when a coach made me read it in college. I”m banking you will get something from it to.

Dont forget to “sharpen the saw.”

++++++++++
(The first three habits are called “Character ethics.” The second three habits are called “Personality ethics”)

#1 Be Proactive – Take responsibility for your own life: Have a Personal Vision

-behavior based on value vs feelings based on conditions
-proactive people carry the weather within (no such thing as bad weather) them and make the best of situations. Reactive people go the other way. Rainy day ruins everything.
-dont blame other people and circumstances for your happiness
-you have the power to choose
-your basic nature is to act and not be acted upon

Example: Man’s Search For Meaning By Victor Frankel
-how you deal with suffering
-the last ultimate freedom – “They could hurt my body.. but not hurt me”
-Conclusion: You are responsible for your own happiness and fulfilment

#2 Begin with the end in mind: Leadership Habit

-write you value system
-top line – what is it that we’re fundamentally about?
-dont tie yourself to history but to potential

#3 First thing first: Management Habit

-manage things but LEAD people. Dont manage people.
-can take control of time and events – as seeing how they relate to you mission
-reorganizing your life around your mission and then having the discipline to make it happen
-important vs urgent – must act upon it. Ringing phone.
-QUADRANTS: IMPORTANT (See Diagram Above)
Quadrant 1: urgent + important
Quadrant 2: not urgent + important: exercise, reading, relationships, education, etc
Quadrant 3: urgent + not important
Quadrant 4: not urgent + not important

PERSONALITY HABITS

#4 Think Win-Win
-agree to communicate until “we can find a solution we both feel good about”
-create new options – new alternatives

#5 Seek First to Understand… Then to be Understood
-Example: Try – “let me listen to you first”
-As opposed to the “collective monologue/ dialogue of the deaf”
-first listen – then talk

#6 Creative Synergy
-Creative solutions
-compromise = 1+1 = 1.5
-synergy = 1+1 = 5
-better solutions than alone
-authority vs martyrdom – win-lose or lose-win
-create Win-win OR no deal
-if we cannot get to win win – then lets go for no deal
-approach synergy with an abundance mentality

#7 Self Renewal: Sharpening the Saw
-Review and renew – teach then live

Common sense is NOT common practice

++++++

You can purchase Covey’s book here
And watch a great little video about “The Big Rocks” here

Got Politics? Bring it to the Table!

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Do you talk politics at your table?

Left or right, red or blue, conservative or progressive – it is that time again. The Presidential election is upon us. For the next five months, leading up to November 6, 2012, political imagery will capture the attention of America and beyond.

The photography will be ubiquitous. And the films, ads, and speeches, will flood our airwaves, tvs and tablets. The pundits will express their impassioned points of view. Some people love it. But these days, many people seem to cringe at the very word: “politics.” Either way, this time period never fails to create some strong and iconic imagery. Click through some of the tabs above to see photos from the last nine presidential elections and beyond.

Everyone knows the saying, “Dont talk politics or religion at the dinner table.” The assumption being that it could lead to unpleasant conversation. Indeed people’s values are often rooted in beliefs that will not likely change…at least not before dessert is served. In fact, there is fear that these topics could create an uncomfortable situation. It’s just safer to talk about the weather, sports or the latest movie… and say, “Yup, that’s some crazy [rain, homerun, special effects]…please pass the sweet-potatoes.”

Talking Eyes Media, a non-profit founded by husband and wife Julie Winokur and award-winning photojournalist Ed Kashi, launched a Kickstarter campaign back in May to challenge this premise of keeping your mouth-shut-when-it-comes-to-politics. Their vision, “Bring it to the Table” was funded and they have taken the project on the road to invite people of all opinions to an open dialogue around poltics. The Bring it to the Table website explains:

Democracy is founded on robust dialogue, but somewhere along the line, politics replaced sex as the one thing in America we don’t discuss in mixed company – even amongst friends and family.
Bring it to the Table is a participatory online platform, community engagement campaign, and webisode series aimed at bridging political divides and elevating the national conversation. The project is for those who are tired of hyper-partisanship.

On the eve of America’s 236th birthday (July 4th for those of you tuning in from outside of USA) – what could be more patriotic than creating a more open dialogue?

You can help Bring it to the Table by donating here and check out their Tumblr here.

Shepard Fairey Installs 100-foot Mural

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Shepard Fairey has a new installation in London’s Pleasure Gardens. The 10-story mural is part of the London Pleasure Garden’s vision of emulating the 17th and 19th Century tradition of ‘communal spaces where people from all walks of life converged to listen to music, admire paintings, stroll, drink, flirt and immerse themselves in the culture.’ As the world’s attention turns to London for the 2012 Olympic Games (July 27-Aug 12) the longtime cultural capital of the world is hot showcase for these convergences of art, music, sport and media attention.

Head into your weekend with a quote from Fairey: “Art [and creativity] is really undervalued as a means of evolving culture. The more that [street art] is encouraged and there is a space that incubates it the better. As an artist, I always felt that museums and galleries were just too narrow a venue for my art – and art in general. The best art works like music, where music, when you really like it, you listen to the melody and the beat and then you pay attention to the lyrics and what the message is. It becomes a whole feeling and an idea bundled in one – visual art should work the same way.”

Powerful Wildfire Photos from Colorado

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Photo: Helen H. Richardson


Summer-time wildfires are a fact of life in the dry climates of the Rocky Mountain state.

However, the conditions in Colorado this summer have brought record breaking wildfires. There are currently three major fires burning at once. The High Park, Waldo Canyon and Flagstaff fires have consumed, by some estimates, over 100,000 acres and close to 600 homes. Devastating.

The photography coming out of Colorado is powerful. From the captured emotions of people watching their homes burn, to tired firefighters, to apocalyptic-like skies – it is reminiscent of a war zone. The photography is honest and eery. Click through some of the tabs above to view some of the photos curated from the hundreds floating around on the internet.

Our thoughts go out to the people of Colorado, especially the Colorado Springs and Fort Collins area who have lost homes in these fires. For more information on how to help those effected click HERE

Bio of a Commercial Shoot: 9 Days in 4.5 Minutes

Last year during our winter photo/video campaign for REI, Chase asked me to shoot a few behind the scenes stills every day to contribute to his Diary of a Shoot blog series. The following is what he got in return. This is what happens when you ask the video guy to shoot stills.

Too fast for you? Take spin through Chase’s blog series for the daily play by play of the shoot. It’s packed with useful information.

The music is “Eyes Be Closed” by Washed Out. If you dig it, you can buy it here.

My Favorite CameraBag of Tricks

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Camera Bag 1 on Chase Jarvis BlogHey photo friends. Erik here with a quick recommendation for an inexpensive photo editing solution.  I’ve been playing around with the CameraBag 2desktop software for the last couple months and I’m blown away at the capabilities packed into this affordable editing tool.  If you’re new to photo editing and wanna save a few bucks, or you’re like me and find inspiration in trying out new photo apps, I highly recommend you download this software. [20 sample photos by clicking the image tabs above...]

Here are my 3 favorite features:

1. Presets: CameraBag 2 is loaded with dozens of awesome presets. Scott recently wrote a blog post and then another blog post about the pros and cons of using presets. It sparked considerable debate and it was a pretty even split between the fans and the naysayers. I am a fan. Presets are a throw back to the inherent experimentation that photographers had with film and help to discover new possibilities and styles. It’s great way to take a fresh look at your photos. But, even as a fan, I believe that presets are useless without the following functions.

2. Customization: The “Style” presets are customizable via the built-in “Remix” slider. It’s fast and it’s slick. The software also comes preloaded with about 80 presets in the “Favorites” tab that, when applied to your photo, display every effect and adjustment in play at the bottom of the screen. You can tweak each effect and rearrange them to see how the order affects the final image. Infinite customization.

3. Quicklook: The Quicklook view is just plain badass. Clicking it gives you a proof-sheet view of options for styles, adjustments, borders, or favorites. Executed as a full-screen, side-by-side preview of what’s possible it is a speedy and brilliant tool to find the aesthetic you’re looking for.

That’s just a handful of notable features. Be sure to take a spin through this gallery of images atop this post that features before and after shots (from some of my bts snapshots). More questions? Checkout the CameraBag 2 website

Selective Focus Can Be Your Friend — Tilt Photography on the Cheap

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Hey photo friends – Erik here. While I’m typically the video guy around these parts,  I wanted to hop on the blog to quickly tell you about a piece of camera gear that I’ve been enjoying lately.  I picked up a Tilt Transformer from Lensbaby about a month ago and it’s now a permanent piece of my walk-around photography kit.  The Tilt Transformer allows you to mount your Nikon lenses to a Micro Four Thirds or Sony NEX camera and then swivel the Tilt Transformer around for some dramatic selective focus shots. Tilting the lens creates a “slice” of focus that can be adjusted vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and the size of the focus slice can be adjusted by changing the aperture on the lens.  It’s a great way to create tilt-shift style photography for a fraction of the price of a single tilt-shift lens.

Q: What is the benefit of a tilt or tilt/shift lens?
A: The benefit of a tilt (or tilt/shift) lens can be myriad, but mostly it’s incredibly effective at removing visual noise and focusing or drawing the viewer’s eye to the intended subject.

Use the image tabs atop this post to take a spin through a gallery of photos I shot with it and my Olympus E-P3 and see what I mean. Also take a peek at the Lensbaby site for more details.

10 Essentials to Go the Extra Mile (for Your Clients + Crew)

extra mile 1Hello, readers! Megan here, Producer at Chase Jarvis Inc. We’ve just returned from an amazing 6-day shoot in Aspen, CO. You perhaps read about it here, here, or here. It got me thinking about client/crew relationships and customer service.

One of the ways you can set yourself apart as a creative professional is to really go the extra mile for both your client(s) and your crew. This applies to YOU, whether you’re a photographer or director producing your own jobs with a small crew, or a producer wrangling a hefty crew with a lot of moving parts. Here are some things to think about before your next shoot:

1. Flights: We do a lot of traveling around here, and we all know that flying can be a pain in the you-know-what. Lines, waiting, more lines, more waiting. Knowing whether people prefer a window or aisle, bulkhead or exit row, goes a long way to make the experience that much better. Be sure to include frequent flier numbers, when applicable. Also, how is everyone getting to the airport? Can you arrange for a car service to carpool some folks that live close to one another? Or should everyone cab it individually and bill the cost along with their final invoice?

2. Hotels: Whether you’re staying in a 3, 4, or 5-star hotel with tons of amenities, or a low-budget motel off the highway, providing the front desk with some details about your stay can really help things run smoothly.  Be sure to let them know how many of you are traveling together and if you have any special needs (early check-in, late check-out, meeting space for your pre-pro, printing capabilities, wi-fi access, breakfast, gear storage, etc.). Ask for dining recommendations or the location of the nearest grocery or drug store. Additionally, since you’re perhaps spending a serious chunk of change with the hotel, you might be able to wiggle into a few extra benefits as well that could help your shoot – early breakfast, discount rates, or extra rooms for gear/meetings. Also remember: the front desk is there to help, if you let them. You can show your appreciation by generously tipping the staff, the shuttle driver, bell hop, housekeeping, etc. Upon checkout, we like to leave an envelope at the front desk for housekeeping. Generally, the rule of thumb is $2 to $5 per day per room.

3. Rental cars:  Think about what kind of space you need:  you may be traveling with so much gear that an SUV is a necessity or maybe even a cargo van.  Or maybe your client wants a convertible if you’re shooting somewhere warm and tropical. Which company should you use?  There’s a balance to be found between price, convenience and reliability. We are usually hurrying off to a pre-pro or a scout and need to know that our car is ready and right. Whenever possible, we go with a company with whom we have a preferred account for fast service and a location in the main terminal.

4. Food: I could go on forever about this one. Food is often an undervalued aspect of a shoot. Keeping your crew well-fed and watered can go a long way to making a tough day feel less tiresome.

  1. Know food allergies and/or preferences. Is anyone allergic to nuts, gluten-free or vegetarian?
  2. Snacks are an easy way to make people happy. Our crew likes Peanut M&Ms, red Swedish Fish, beef jerky and string cheese. What does your crew like to have handy?
  3. What kind of restaurants does your client like to eat at for dinner? Sushi? Mexican? Find out so you can make a reservation in advance. We always love a spot with a private room for large parties. In many restaurants, there’s not even an extra charge!

5. Community: Make sure you get to know your clients and crew well; nothing brings a crew together like an off-duty meal. It’s a fantastic opportunity to talk about things other than the j-o-b and really get to know everyone on a personal level. Your client’s wedding anniversary is next month? File that tidbit away so you can be sure to send him or her a card and perhaps a bottle of wine.

6. Follow-through: Make sure everyone has received and read the call sheet you emailed by following up with a phone call to confirm. It sucks when a key member of your team calls bright and early on shoot day frantic because they don’t know where to go and when.

7. Organization: If there’s one skill that every producer should have honed, it’s organization. It can be tricky to keep track of all the moving pieces, but if you have a good system in place, it can help out tremendously. Try centralizing your information into a production book, with the creative, contact info, schedule, shot list, talent, locations, permits, calendar, travel confirmations, etc. that you can constantly reference. Not only is it super helpful for you, but it instills confidence in your client that you know what you’re doing and that you have everything under control.

8. Details: You know what they say, the devil is in the details. It’s often the little things that make the difference between an okay shoot and an awesome one. Is there a concierge we can leave our skis + snowboards with at the hotel? Is there a hotel shuttle available to take us to the location? Did you remember to get that radio to the 1st assistant? Or make sure everyone has their lift tickets on them? There are a million of these little details to think about on any shoot. The more you can anticipate in advance, the smoother your shoot will go. And the more you’ll impress your clients.

9. Communication: Words to live by, friends, “over-communicate.” Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what the expectations are. Just had a conference call with your client? Summarize what transpired and who’s responsible for what in an email. I promise you, this will save your behind at one point or another during your career. This is also an effective way to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

10. Be (sincerely) nice: This might seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten myself out of a jam by simply being really nice. I’m not suggesting that you overdo it on the saccharine; in fact, no one likes a kiss-ass. This can sometimes be easier said than done, but don’t forget that we’re lucky to be doing what we love for a living. You’ll find that people (both clients + crew) are a lot more eager to work with you on a long-term basis if you just be nice :)

Thanks for reading! For more production tips, be sure to check out Kate’s awesome post here.

10 Tips to Help Photographers & Creatives [that's YOU] with Contracts

ARGH...  Contracts!!!!

ARGH... Contracts!!!!

Are you a photographer, filmmaker or creative type and find yourself bogged down by contracts and legal documents? No where to turn? Do contracts make you want to scream? Well hello friends. It’s me Kate, Executive Producer over here at Chase Jarvis Inc. One of my roles as EP is to deal with all of the legal schmegal that comes through our shop and –while I have an excellent lawyer that I always consult– I feel your pain. Over the years I’ve learned a fair bit and now try to do as much of the legwork as I can reasonably do to keep legal costs as low as possible. You may want to consider this approach – it has saved us thousands of dollars.

I will start by stating very overtly that I am NOT a lawyer and can’t give you legal advice. This post is not said advice.  I do, however, think that–by example–it could be really helpful if I were to break down one common contract that photographers often get asked to sign before a project – the Non Disclosure Agreement (the “NDA”) AND THEN outline some generally helpful tips regarding contracts in general. This won’t give you all the details, but it will give you an important foundation, an approach, on which to build. That’s the point of this post – here goes:

Example:  The Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

The NDA is a contract that is also commonly known as a confidentiality agreement or secrecy agreement.  It is a legal contract between at least two parties that protects the discloser (person sharing the info) and the confidential information when they share information with a recipient (person receiving the information) for a specific purpose.  You may be asked to sign one any time an individual or company feels that they are sharing confidential information with you.  This is certainly smart business practice for sharing sensitive information… IN FACT, you may even want to have your own NDA to protect your own confidential information if you’re in a positon to share such info with contractors, etc.

My Top 10 Checklist for NDAs
Below you will find ten things to consider as you review any NDA.  And again, you should definitely consult a lawyer, but this is a great starting point:

  1. Is there a “Purpose” or “Project” clearly defined?  This will limit your confidentiality requirements to the specific project on which you are working.
  2. Do the disclosure terms favor the party sharing the most information?  It is designed to protect the discloser.
  3. Does the agreement need to be mutual or not?   You might be sharing confidential information on the project too.  If you are, you may want to use an MNDA (Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement).
  4. What is included in the definition of “Confidential Information?” Is this reasonable?
  5. Is there a “Feedback” clause?  This explains what rights the discloser will have to any of YOUR feedback.  For example, it may say that your suggestions or recommendations belong to the discloser.  You should decide if this is ok for you.
  6. Review the “Term” (period of time for the contract) and “Termination” (how the contract may be ended).  Both of these elements should be appropriate to the project.
  7. Is there a “Survival” clause?  This states that should you end the contract, certain parts of the contract may always be valid.  Know and understand what these elements are, so you are sure to be in compliance.
  8.  Read the “Boilerplate” (that means the standard sections) even though it may seem boring.
  9.  State of law.  If troubles develop down the line and legal action is required, where would the proceedings would take place.  You may not be able to change this one, but it is good to know.
  10. Look for the standard exceptions to confidentiality.  These favor YOU, the recipient, and state when and if information is NOT considered confidential or when it may be shared.  In NON-legal jargon, these are examples:
  1. You knew the information before it was disclosed to you AND YOU CAN PROVE/DOCUMENT IT.
  2. The information is or becomes publicly available (in a legal way and not through breach of any contract.)
  3. The information becomes LAWFULLY available from a third party (that means NOT through your company or the disclosing company).  And again, it must be legal, without any violation of confidentiality obligations.
  4. You independently develop what is protected by the confidentiality WITHOUT the use of the confidential information.  Be VERY careful with this one.
  5. You are legally required to disclose the information.  Just make sure you really are legally required to do so before you do.  Also, you would want to determine with your lawyer if you are required to or should notify the company.

Some companies have developed really excellent NDAs that are perfectly good to sign in their original state.  Others may just have a stock NDA that is quite broad and may even feel that it doesn’t make sense for your situation.  You are looking to make sure that whatever you sign works for your company and the purpose of your project.  I have the impression that many recipients believe that they MUST sign the NDA AS-IS in order to even be considered for the project.  While that MAY be the case, in my experience, I have found that companies have been very open to suggestions IF the following is true:

  • they are reasonable requests and
  • I make it easy for them.  They do NOT want more work, so I always send the client two things when I’m requesting changes:
  1. a “Red Line” version of their own NDA, which shows the changes I and/or my lawyer have made within the document, and
  2. a SIGNED, clean copy for them.  That way, if they agree to our changes, they already have what they need. (This is often a magical technique that demonstrates efficiency and understandingl

If the company is not open to making any changes, it’s up to you to decide with your lawyer if you are willing to sign the contract with a real understanding of what your risks are.

Finally, Some General Contract Thoughts.
In this post, we looked at one specific kind of contract, but there are so many more… JOY!   As you go forth, with your pen poised to sign away, stop first and consider the following before you sign anything [and did I mention that I am NOT a lawyer??  So, please take these thoughts with a grain of salt.  These are just my thoughts after working in this capacity with Chase for so many years.]

  1. ALWAYS read and understand what your are signing.
  2. Seek advice. I know that legal advice can be very expensive, but know that getting into a bad agreement can be far worse.  Sometimes it can be more economical to belong to professional organizations to get access to legal support, discounted legal advice or even documents.  Try ASMP.org for resources around legal documents.
  3. Stay positive in you negotiations around contracts.  It is GREAT NEWS that a client wants to work with you!! Contracts are just one of the steps to the end goal of a fantastic job.  You may not get everything that you ask for, but through the process you will understand what your are signing up for and make sure to avoid any ‘deal breakers.’
  4. Always keeps copies of the agreement that are signed by both parties.
  5. Note any requirements from the agreement you may have to follow through with later.

Best of luck to you in your legal endeavors!  Until next time, Kate

The 50 Greatest Cameras of All Time?

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50 greatest camerasHey photo friends, Erik here.  I recently stumbled upon Photography Monthly’s article on “The 50 Greatest Cameras of All Time”.  I was a little surprised that my beloved Olympus E-P3 didn’t make their list, but I put together this little collection of some of my other favorites with some bits of information about them for your perusal. 

And whoa are there some doozies in there. The list is fascinating, lots of history and indications of the future. Click thru the gallery tabs above to see the rest of the cameras and then let us know what your favorites are – whether they’re on the list or not. Commentary? Why do you love em? Inquiring minds want to know…

No, But I Can Learn

i can learn

Do you know how to load a roll of film?
Work a light meter?
Edit slides on a light table?
Scan film?
Color correct scans?
Track a photo inventory?
Submit photos to clients?
Work with a stock agency?
Make prints?
Pack a camera bag?
Ship equipment?
Set up lights?
Scout a location?
Drive on the left side of the road?
Order food in French?
Clean a digital sensor?
Work in Photoshop?
Create a workflow?
Edit a Portfolio?
Build a creative brief?
Create a composite image?
Shoot from a helicopter?
Work 30 days straight (with a hangover)?
Use a prototype camera?
Shoot and edit video?
Manage a huge equipment inventory?
Develop filters for a photo app?
Layout a book?
Film a TV show?
Write a magazine article?
Build a community?
Hang an art installation?
Survive in Manhattan?
Film a Live broadcast?
Write a blog post?

I didn’t. When I started working in photography as Chase’s assistant, I was a blank slate. I like to think I still am. Many of these skills have become obsolete. Others did not even exist when I started. Knowing how to do everything is not the goal. Knowing that you can learn is everything.

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