Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Solutions for shooting photography in public places without a permit

Photographer Discrimination and Solutions for Getting Around "The Man"- I just had to post a nice message about how much I despise those who discriminate against photographers. Yesterday we were chased off the Golden Gate Bridge by the Bridge Patrol who yelled at us, "No Photo Shoots. You will be cited!" from their loudspeakers on their cars.

It is so utterly ridiculous to treat photographers differently than everyone else, because that's exactly what happens. It's happened to me all over the world, but what disturbs me the most is when it happens in the United States. Every other person with their cheap point and shoot can take as many pictures as they want, of whomever they want. But the minute you put a more expensive camera in your hands, it's ILLEGAL.

I would totally understand requiring a permit or banning a shoot if the photographer/production was holding up traffic, causing a public nuisance, or if it was resulting in the destruction of a habitat. But outside of those scenarios which are few and far in between, we shouldn't be treated differently than anyone else. As long as we are behaving as a non-professional does with a camera, why are we treated differently? How can you legitimately ban one group of people from taking pictures while allowing another group without limits? It's a very simple and direct double standard.

If I take a sunset shot and sell it, I pay taxes on my profits, isn't that enough? Paying for the right to shoot AND sell is double dipping. Of course governments all over the world have done that for centuries so I guess I'm just being naive.

Simply put it's just about a government who wants more money out of us photographers. I'm sure if I paid the right price I could shoot on the Golden Gate Bridge...trust me. Outside of photography I love cops, but I've had so many run-ins with them as they chase me out of places that I am just sick and tired of it. If you're a police officer or are married to one, please don't take offense at this. I know you're just taking orders from those above you. Your job is vital to our safety and you are heroes. Just leave us lowly photographers alone.


1. Take a small amount of gear with you, that lessens your exposure. Tripods are a BIG give away that you're not an amateur. Leave bags in the car, only take your body and a flash.

2. No matter what you're doing on a shoot, you are doing it for "Non-commercial" purposes. I don't care if you've never met your clients before. When you're stopped you tell the cops you're life-long friends and that you're just doing them a favor. Tell this to your clients at the start of the shoot. "No money is being exchanged," is another one to tell them. If you throw in a few shoots "for free" into their photography package you can say this and will still be telling the truth.

3. Carry fake business cards- I have a pile of fake cards that show I work somewhere else, non photography related. I just tell the cops I'm a photography enthusiast with money to blow on expensive equipment. I pulled this one off in Hawaii after getting busted for committing the heinous crime of shooting a sunset on the beach with my tripod. He was in the middle of confiscating my gear when I ran to my car and gave him this fake card, then he "let" me keep my stuff. Seriously, all I was doing was shooting a sunset.....

4. Play Stupid- "I'm not from around here, I had no idea.." For me that's always true.

For the record, I'm non-confrontational with police officers because I believe it's the best way for me to hope I get to "keep" my gear when this happens.

Hope this helps! I get asked this question a lot and I'm personally okay with fighting against something that I think is wrong...and this is. Stop trying to milk us small business owners for all our money. Try controlling what you spend rather taking what we work so hard to earn.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Watermarking your photos online- making it hard for people to steal your images!

Watermarks- make 'em loud and proud! So many times in this digital era we have our images "stolen" or used without permission. In my opinion this is wrong on all accounts, but if we don't do something to protect ourselves I truly believewe are asking for it. I know we shouldn't "have to" do it, but we need to stop being naive in our belief that just because people shouldn't that they won't.

People will always steal, and I'd dare those reading this to be honest with themselves and ask if they've ever downloaded a song they haven't paid for. Personally I've never downloaded a song or movie that I didn't pay for, but back in the old days I did make mix tapes by sharing friends' cassette tapes with each other.

Solution 1. Make a good sized banner on the bottom of your image so everyone can know where the image came from. Sometimes people are just excited to show your image, so it's important that you give yourself credit because more often than not, they won't.

Solution 2: Put your name in three or more areas across your image diagonally so it crosses many different areas of your shot. I do it at 25% opacity. This means any user will not be able to crop it in Facebook without your name appearing. They'd have to take it into Photoshop and clone it out which is time consuming. On top of that the images that I post on FB are so low res that their attempts to edit them will not succeed, there's just not enough data there to do it.

In summary, stop whining about people using or taking your shots without your permission and do something about it. Be proactive rather than reactive. If you've done all I mention above and they still do it, go to war with them. Because at that point they've shown that they are willing to do whatever it takes to steal your shot.

Until next time, I hope this helps!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

San Francisco Casting Call for Female Models and Couples

Casting Call for Female Models and Couples for San Francisco- if you are interested in modeling for me next week on Tuesday or Wednesday, or Thursday (May 29th, 30th, and or 31st, 2012) this is your chance! I am looking for the following looks and people:

*People- female models and possibly male models if they are currently in a dating relationship with the female models that are accepted. I need chemistry!

*Themes- pin up, high fashion, wedding, and something wild. Remember, you will be providing the wardrobe so it will depend on what you own or will buy or rent for the shoot. The "Something Wild" means if you have a crazy idea that you want to shoot let me know what it is and maybe we can do it.

*Body Types- looking for fit people in the age range of 18-35. I do not shoot minors. What does "fit" mean? Look at the pics of the people on my Facebook page. I'm not looking for ultra-thin (emaciated), in fact I prefer "Normal" or "The Girl Next Door" looking people. In other words if you have a "tummy" like me this isn't the shoot for you.

*Compensation- this is a TFI (Time For Images) shoot meaning you will receive images for FREE from me for each day that you shoot with me/us. You will be required (standard practice) to sign a release prior to the shoot. I won't shoot you if you don't have a signed release.

*Wardrobe- I will NOT be providing wardrobe, that will be your responsibility.

To be considered please send me an email at JASON@JLPROS.COM with the following information. You will NOT be considered if you do not send me all the information I ask for below:

**3 pics of yourself showing 1 close up shot of your head/face, and two showing your body. Pics using your camera phone are just fine, they don't need to be professional.

**Measurements- please provide them. If you aren't sure try to measure yourself or have a friend help. For female models if you don't know your measurements please provide your bust size.

**Date and Time Availability- the more available you are the higher chance you have of being chosen. But if you only have 1 day available and it works for me you could be chosen so make sure to reply if you want to be considered.

**Clothing- please tell me what type of clothing you want to wear for the shoot. If you are chosen you will be required to send me pics of you wearing the outfits prior to the shoot.

I usually receive A LOT of response and I try to take as many people as I can, BUT I can't choose everyone. I look forward to hearing from you!!!

Picture Settings for Facebook using Lightroom

Picture Settings for Facebook- I get asked a lot what the right settings are for posting shots in Facebook. The main concerns are posting a shot that looks really good, but at the same time isn't large enough so someone can steal it. The key things for posting images onto Facebook are Quality, size, and resolution. I use Lightroom to export all of my images onto Facebook, and here are my settings. I've included a snapshot picture to show you what I do:

*Quality: Between 65-67.
*Resize to Fit (LONGEST EDGE) 1000 pixels
*Resolution: 200 PPI (Pixels per inch)

These are my settings and they work great for me, hope it helps!



Monday, May 21, 2012

New York Central Park when it rains

Central Park when it rains- this image was taken last week during my workshop in New York. As anyone who has done a workshop with me will tell you, I shoot during any type of weather, rain or shine, snow or hail, we'll find a way to get a shot. Why? Because that's what it's like to be a real photographer. Sometimes you don't have another chance to just postpone the shoot. Well, it called for rain the two days of the workshop and we got some awesome pictures because of it. True, there isn't blue sky and clouds in this shot, but you have to look at what we did get. We got Central Park EMPTY....how many times does that happen? I got beautiful streaking water down the trunks of the Elm trees. There's always something beautiful to capture, you just have to look for it.

Next Workshop: San Francisco, CA- May 29th and 30th

Camera settings: Nikon D3, 1/125 sec at f/4.0, 30mm at ISO 100, flash did not fire. Taken at 4:57pm on May 15, 2012 by Jason Lanier in New York City, NY.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse 2012

Tonight was a pretty awesome night as we were treated to a once in every 25 years treat Solar Eclipse.  This is the first one I've ever witnessed in my 37 years on the earth and I loved it.  I had to underexpose the shots significantly because it was still pretty bright in California when it occurred, but it was still pretty awesome.  Hope you like the pics!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Batman Wedding Rings

"Bat Rings" this image was taken at my wedding last Saturday for Patrick and Christina at the Christmas House Inn and Gardens. It was so funny when I asked for the rings to do detail shots prior to the ceremony because when I did they all started laughing. It wasn't until they handed them to me that I understood why...they are a very fun couple and they were so excited to be unique in the rings they chose for their big day. Hope you like it!

Upcoming Workshops:

New York, NY- May 14th, 15th, and 16th
San Francisco, CA- May 29th and 30th
Honolulu, HI- June 17th and 18th

Camera settings: Nikon D700, 1/60 sec at f/4.5, 105mm at ISO 100, flash did not fire. Taken at 4:52pm on May 5, 2012 by Jason Lanier.