February 2013

Death on a forest floor.

From life comes death, and from death, life again.

Reflections of a retired sailor

“It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.”

Hey, aspiring photographers: A bit of free advice for you…

Your work is worth something. Your skills are worth something. Put a value on it. Stick to your guns. Don’t be afraid to turn down an opportunity if the opportunity is only that for someone else. Free work for someone else is free labor provided by you. And you can’t live on that.

If you don’t put a value on what you do, no one else will.

Boats, birds and mist…

A couple days ago, Shawna and I went out to to look at a new rental property. We’ve finally decided to make the leap and move into a house, and give the boys a yard to play in. Being the true native Islanders that they are, they both hate being indoors. Much like their father, they seem to prefer – and indeed THRIVE – in misty, cool, overcast conditions. Which fortunately for all three of us, is pretty much what the Island has, in abundance.

Anyways. Ended up being an hour early for the viewing, so we decided to take a minute (literally) and walk down to the waterfront. Found a really great little walking path that followed the water all the war around to the far side of the yacht club. It was overcast, cold, drizzly and perfect for some shooting.

Here’s one of the shots I cam away with. Shot on a Canon 5D MKII with a 70-200 2.8L MKII lens. Handheld.

A response to “Marsha”.

I got this in my email today, from a woman who was apparently irked by yesterday’s post about WalMart’s printing TOS. Her name is Marsha, and she says she’s the Manager of a Photo department at Wal-Mart:

“Name: marsha

Email: (withheld)

Message: “i think you should seriously consider taking down your blog about walmart you are more then wrong and id like to know why you think posting something like this was appropriate. walmart canada has some of the highest standards of personal safety in there photos as a lab manager myself we cant even reprint a photo u took without a lengthy contract and letters from you stating we have permission and the person trying to do it . any photo that comes through is treated with respect and is not misused in anyway even for display purposes there is a lengthy contract to go through its a shame you think is ok to di a canadaian corporation for your own benefit to ur business!”

I’m kind of at a loss for words here. Not sure how I should respond to this? It’s difficult to understand, but I’ll try..

“you are more then wrong and id like to know why you think posting something like this was appropriate”

I’m not wrong, the language is pretty clear. And it’s in plain English, right on the WalMart website. (See image links in the comments from yesterday) And I think it’s appropriate to post because I feel WalMart is preying on the unaware, by putting it in their TOS that you grant them the rights to use your property however they see fit. I feel obligated to make the information known so that people can make an informed decision about who they’re doing business with.

“we cant even reprint a photo u took without a lengthy contract and letters from you stating we have permission”

The TOS laid out in the original post clearly speak to the contrary. I encourage you to re-read it. Specifically the whole thing. It’s one very long run on sentence that says “By using our services, you agree that we can do what we want with the material, now and in the future, without any compensation to you”.

“its a shame you think is ok to di a canadaian corporation for your own benefit to ur business!”

Did you mean “diss”? If so, I’m not “dissing” anyone. I’m merely pointing out the TOS. I’ve pointed something out to people who might not have been aware. Reading the WalMart TOS “out loud”, and drawing attention to it doesn’t a diss make. A diss would be saying “WalMart sucks and only hires undereducated minimum wage workers, and drives local business out and systematically destroys the economy under the guise of bettering communities.” Or something like that.

As for all this “benefiting” MY business? I’m not a photo printer. I don’t provide printing – in any way, shape or form – as part of my business. I take photos. I give a disk of images to my clients. They go elsewhere to print said images. That’s about it. But I suppose that in giving my customers an alternative to having their images misappropriated my a huge (American, by the way) corporation, and at the same time, support local, Canadian companies and businesses, sure.. I’m doing something good for my business, and the local business community.

For example, Turning Points Arts in Saltair, a fellow named Brad Grigor, who offers high quality printing of ALL varieties, from Glicee canvas to board mount. Right from his home. For a great price. AND, you get great customer service. AND he provides fantastic products, superior to WalMart in EVERY way.

His website is http://www.turningpointarts.com. I encourage EVERYONE to check him out and give him a try.

Printing your photos at WalMart? Don’t.

***If you get your photos printed at Walmart (Canada) you may want to reconsider…***

By using Walmart’s service you are granting them an irrevocable, world-wide, royalty free license to do what they want with your photos… including using them in advertizing without payment to you or notifying you. DON’T DO IT. Know your rights. And know what rights you’re giving away.

A direct quote from the WalMart Canada websitem in the Photo Lab’s  TOS:

“You grant to Walmart Canada Corp. a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, unrestricted, world-wide right and license to access, use, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, display, perform, communicate to the public, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, and otherwise use such Materials (in whole or in part) in connection with the Site and/or the Products, using any form, media or technology now known or later developed, without providing compensation to you or any other person, without any liability to you or any other person, and free from any obligation of confidence or other duties on the part of Walmart, its affiliates and their respective licensees”

If you’re looking for an alternative, I suggest London Drugs. I’ve had printing done there before, and they’re pretty great. And their TOS respect the photographer:

“We will not use or modify your Content for advertising purposes or any other purposes without obtaining your expressed permission.Furthermore, and as a condition to your access to LD photo lab and use of the Services, you represent and warrant to London Drugs that you are the owner of the copyright to User Content or that you have written permission from the copyright owner to submit User Content to London Drugs and provide London Drugs with the rights set forth in this paragraph. In addition, you warrant that all moral rights in any uploaded materials have been waived in writing.”

Something to keep in mind if you get printing done at WalMart.

Shout out to Christal Beerman at Christal Beerman Photography for making me aware of this.


Downtown Victoria Business Association. Just another “give us free photos” contest.

I am reposting this here, because as a photographer, I feel it’s important to get the word out. The principle of these “contests” is wrong. Regardless if you’re a professional with a high end DSLR system and 20 years of work experience, or just a kid with a smartphone walking home from work. If you create something that another company or organization benefits or profits from. You should be compensated. If you agree with me, please share the post.

The following is my Facebook response to The Downtown Victoria Business Association group on Facebook, who are holding a “photo contest” called Pucker up, Victoria – Kiss the City.

Shame on you, DVBA! SHAME!

C’mon, people. Stop letting groups like this steal and scam photographers out of their work!

PAY for product! Don’t steal it!

“As a condition of submitting your photo, you unconditionally and irrevocably assign all copyrights and other rights in the photograph to the Downtown Victoria Business Association. You acknowledge that the Downtown Victoria Business Association may, at its sole discretion, publish or otherwise use any photograph submitted by you. As a condition of submitting your photograph, you (and any other individual depicted in a photograph) unconditionally and irrevocably waive all claims to compensation for use of the photograph, and/or any rights with respect to such use you may have under copyright law, the right to publicity, the right to privacy, the law of defamation, and any other common law or statutory claims under the laws of any jurisdiction. You acknowledge that you have been given the authority by each individual depicted or represented in a photograph to bind such individual to these release terms. “

Quote from Elizabeth Hall, a friend of mine on Facebook:

“This is the reason I won’t enter the contest as I am not giving up the copyright to MY work for a contest as that is a price of entry I am not willing nor should I be expected to pay, it also concerns me as I now wonder if the DVBA is going to try to claim ownership of any of the other images I have shared on this page that were not relating to the contest but to spread the word about my photography.

Photographers work damned hard for their art and should not have to give up ownership of their images in exchange for getting the word out about their work. It’s bad enough how many people try to exchange “exposure” for hard work as a way to get said work done for free, and I for one feel that the DVBA expecting ownership of any ones images in exchange for a contest entry coupled with your clear statement of intent to use the images for your own gain is ludicrous.”

Before people go grumbling at me and telling what a big jerk spoilsport I am….

*IF* the compensation for the top photo was the end of it, I’d have no problem. What I have a problem with, and what most people fail to see is that EVERY PHOTO SUBMITTED becomes the property of the DVBA.

To reiterate: “As a condition of SUBMITTING your photo, you unconditionally and irrevocably assign all copyrights and other rights in the photograph to the Downtown Victoria Business Association.”

Not “If YOUR photo is the WINNING photo you unconditionally and irrevocably assign all copyrights and other rights in the photograph to the Downtown Victoria Business Association.”

So, how about some quick math?

In a city of approximately 82,000, it’s not unreasonable to assume that conservatively, 500 people enter this “contest”. Each of those photos is now OWNED by DVBA. For life. They own every single submission, the copyrights and right to use. Forever. But to the “winning” photo, a prize of “free swag” donated by affiliates of the DVBA, collectively worth about… $1000. Not CASH, just a collection of corporate “junk drawer” stuff. Most of which was probably given to THOSE businesses by companies they represent. So. A spa might give away a few products that were given to them by Laureal, DKNY, whatever.

So, for roughly $1000 bucks worth of swag, DVBA now owns 500 images that they can use however they see fit, without credit or compensation to the person who took the photo.

That works out to a stockpile of material to pull from. Works out to $2 per. Two bucks. 8 quarters. THAT’S the “value” of each photo submitted.

It’s not a photo contest. It’s a rights grab, because holding a “photo contest” is cheaper than buying legit work or hiring a photographer to create the image you need/want.

More reading:

Photo Contests – Is that a contest or Rights Grab?

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