Welcome back to another episode of the Filter Photography Podcast! Episode 18 is where we’re at, talking about the role of music in photography and also some answers to more listener questions.
I appreciate you sending in your questions because obviously it helps fuel the show, but more importantly, it helps other photographers learn. That’s really the spirit of photography. Helping others learn how to be better photographers is what it’s all about.
Have you guys heard about the beer that can develop Kodak film? This beer came out called SuperEIGHT that can develop Kodak Tri-X film. This guy created this beer that reckons the acidity and Vitamin C in the beer can develop it, and Kodak confirmed it works. It’s 5.3% in strength, which is higher than most heavy beers, and is also made with mango, blackberry, raspberry and all these other berries. This isn’t a paid sponsorship but I really want to drink some of that beer.
I was forwarded a copy of the terms and conditions for a competition that’s happening at the moment to shoot Groovin’ The Moo.
As that ‘Shoot The Moo’ comp kicks off just a reminder to read the Terms & Conditions. You hand over allllllll of your copyright to shoot one act. pic.twitter.com/HUL6wGI59g
— Gabrielle 🌻 (@Gxbriellemxry) March 25, 2019
I love Groovin’ The Moo and have loved their lineups over the years. I’ve never shot one myself. Last episode, Michelle Grace Hunder and myself talked about photography contracts and being mindful of what you’re signing away.
Contracts like this one are quite common. Imagine if you were the winner of the competition, and you get a great opportunity to shoot the festival. You end up taking an amazing photo that you love more than anything in your portfolio. Might as well delete it, because you won’t be able to use it for anything in the future. Let’s break down the contract:
5 OWNERSHIP OF WINNER’S PHOTOGRAPHS
5.1 By taking Photographs (as defined herein) at the Winner’s Selected Show, each Winner acknowledges and agrees:
(a) that the Promoter shall own the entire copyright in perpetuity throughout the world in each and every Photograph free of any claim whatsoever by the person who creates the Photograph or any third party. Any rights that the creator of the Photograph may otherwise possess in any Photograph shall be deemed transferred from the creator of such Photograph to the Promoter and the creator agrees that he or she will sign any further documentation required to give effect to this clause;
That means that you as the photos creator, are no longer the owner of the photo. The promoter (Groovin’ The Moo) is.
(b) to hereby waive all his or her rights (including his or her moral rights) to each and every Photograph, and not to exploit, reproduce or use his or her Photograph(s) in any manner whatsoever either commercially or for promotional purposes;
That means you can’t sell your photos as prints, or do anything to make any money from them. If you take a photo of a band and they really love the photo and want to use it on a tour poster later, you have to say no.
(c) that the Promoter shall have the sole and exclusive right to manufacture, advertise, sell, license or otherwise use, exploit or dispose of the Photograph submitted into this Competition, as the Promoter solely decides, without any remuneration payable to the entrants of the Competition or any other third party and the Promoter shall not be required to make any payments in connection with the Photograph submitted to this Competition or their exploitation,
If Groovin’ The Moo want to put your photo on a shirt for next year’s event for example, they don’t have to pay you for it.
(d) all Photographs shall be and remain the property of the Promoter and may be used in future commercial and marketing exercises, including but not limited to being displayed as part of the https://www.shootthemoo.com website;
(e) GTM and the Promoter grants permission for each Winner to use the Photographs taken in their portfolio or any manner of online / exhibition purpose.
You can use your photos in your portfolio or at an exhibition, but the previous points mean that you can’t sell them as prints.
When we talk about a restrictive contract, this is what we’re talking about. Arctic Monkeys had a similar one from what was posted online by someone. These contracts are few and far between, but they obviously exist. Shoot The Moo’s website says:
Are you an avid photographer keen to make this your career?
If you are keen to make it your career, you need to be aware of what you’re signing away. An artist or band would never sign a distribution deal that means they get no payment in exchange, despite how many times it is listened to. A band wouldn’t play the festival for no payment either. Even if it’s just a little bit of money, it’s fair everyone gets paid. As a photographer, you should value your work equally and at least consider your future monetary gain with the work.
I have faith the people at Groovin’ The Moo are good eggs, and that a legal team has defaulted to some over-the-top contract stipulations. The opportunity is good, and I applaud them for offering it. But signing away your rights in full is not something I would personally recommend any photographer of any experience level.
A contract where everyone wins is granting Groovin’ The Moo non-exclusive rights to use your image on digital mediums with credit for a fixed period of time (let’s say 12 months). Anything that makes money because of the photo should be agreed to separately. That way, everyone wins – Groovin’ The Moo gets content, you keep your rights for future work in your career, and you have the opportunity to work with a festival in a business sense. All good eggs benefit in the music industry’s main meal, known as scrambled eggs. Does that make sense? Don’t think so. But god damn I love a good analogy.
About the episode
Matt’s Mind – Music in photography
If you think merely throwing on some music while you edit your photos is just part of the process, I don’t think you’re not giving music the credit it deserves. Music makes you feel certain ways, and it also affects the way you do certain things.
Think about boxers or MMA fighters. They probably don’t get ready to enter the ring by listening to classical music. They need to feel pumped up, ready for battle, and probably listen to something high energy like rap or hard rock.
When we edit photos, we are using energy. It might not feel like we are, but the formula for editing is only half of the process. The decisions you make within the parameters of the formula you use are just as important within the process.
As a music photographer, I prefer to listen to the music of the artist I’m editing. The client expects the energy to reflect that of the artist, so it’s important to understand what emotion I’m trying to get out of the photo.
When I first started shooting, I thought taking the photos was 90% of the process in creating a great photo. I thought it was all about facial expressions, lighting and all the other factors that contribute to visually portraying the vibes of the bands and the music.
I find when I edit photos of an artist like Dune Rats, my edits are a lot messier than edits I do for Camp Cope. Camp Cope’s edits are a little more understated, whereas Dune Rats’ edits have a lot of the show’s environment, like liquid flying through the air, accentuated. Camp Cope’s edits are trying to display them as a reflective but strong band, and the Dune Rats edits are trying to display them with the energy and loose-ness that the crowd remembers from the show. I’m not sure if I edit from the perspective of the audience who was there, trying to simulate that connection, but it’s something that seems to be more naturally drawn out when I edit with the band’s music on in the background.
Experiment with your editing process by letting music in if you don’t already. It can really affect the way you edit and bring out a flow that you otherwise might not have found. It could even speed up your editing workflow, which is something I think all photographers want to do.
Keen to know what you think about the role of music in photography. Hit the comments below or just hit me on Instagram or wherever else you follow me.
“If you take photos of bands, what shutter speed do you use?” – @danos_photography
What camera settings I use depends on so many things. Shooting concerts doesn’t have a firm formula you can use, like I was saying before with the discussion about the role of music in photography.
If you’re shooting a band that jumps around a lot, you’re going to need a fast shutter speed, but that’s going to come at the cost of light. But if you are shooting a stationary singer songwriter for example, you can easily get away with a shutter speed as low as 1/30. Take a look at these examples.
Each setting was different, so I had to adapt my approach. You have to figure out what works best and think about your overall exposure with the other two things you need to factor in – aperture and ISO.
“Is being photogenic a myth or are some people just ass ugly?” – @crushtor
Easy answer to this one – everyone is who they are. There are no such things as ugly or unphotogenic because the subject is the subject.
On corporate shoots or more clinical briefs, I make a point to say to the client that I don’t do any touchups on people unless they specifically ask for them. When I do each photo, I also tell the subjects that I don’t, because I feel it helps them feel comfortable.
Saying that you don’t do touchups doesn’t mean you won’t, it means you don’t by default. As the photographer, it’s not your place to make judgements on what people feel their flaws are. That means we shouldn’t anticipate that either, because trust me, the subject will feel judged. I don’t want to give them a complex they didn’t already have because I removed a mole they had. I don’t want them to feel like they should be embarrassed by something.
I have a mole on my face that I don’t love nor hate. If someone photoshopped that out, I would be pretty upset because that’s me. At the same time, some clients have asked me to photoshop out an eye they feel droops lower than the other, and I’m more than happy to do that.
So yeah, it is a myth. You are who you are. Don’t hide from it, everyone is beautiful to someone. I mean that.
“Band etiquette! New bands want to know.” – @mathew_ferrari
I’m not exactly sure what kind of etiquette you’re talking about, but it did give me some thoughts about common things I tell bands who are starting out. This is from the perspective of hiring me as a photographer, of course. I can’t give you etiquette of how to be more effective or escape any common music industry problems.
When a new band hits me up and needs photos for their press releases, I ask three things:
- What is your budget?
- Where are you located?
- What kind of photos do you want?
Asking what their budget is helps manage expectations. Every photographer has different package rates. I’ve given people rates early on in discussions and immediately the band sort of took a step back and said “Whoah, we can’t afford that.” The booking just sort of ends right there, and it means I miss out on a booking and the band also misses out on photos. There’s always a halfway mark. I generally find it by asking what the band’s budget is, then tell them my rate, and how we can still work together so that everyone wins.
Sometimes if a band says, “I don’t know what we want in terms of promo photos. What ideas do you have?” That takes thinking, which I’m more than happy to do, but we can keep costs down by you and your band being prepared with some initial location-scouting to help speed up the process. Choosing your location helps paint photographers a picture of what you’re looking for.
One more thing I’ll add is that the photos you get are reflective of you. What you do on stage or off is all we can capture. We can’t create photos of you doing something crazy if you never did it. My advice for getting the most out of a photographer you hire is to play with as much confidence as you can so you can grow into your photos.
You’re not going to get a photo hanging from the roof like Clowns’ get, or a photo of you throwing the guitar like Dune Rats gets if you don’t do it. So play with as much confidence as you can, move around as much as you can, and the photos will show that energy.
“What position are you in if anyone, whether it’s a muso or not, asks you to delete a pic you’ve taken?” – @bondski_67
Good question, but I’m not sure if there’s a good answer. I have never had someone ask me to delete a photo. If I had, I would say so because I don’t think there’s any harm in asking someone to delete a photo. I don’t think I’ve been faced with this problem because I would never edit a photo, or even shortlist a photo, where the subject doesn’t look good or reflective of the brand they are representing.
If you’re into street photography, I expect you to be asked this a fair bit. There’s some grey areas around this, being in public spaces and whatnot, but if someone asked me to delete a photo in the street photography situation, I would definitely agree. I think that’s just basic manners.
I don’t think there’s any hard and fast or yes or no answer to this. I think it’s a case of, do what you would expect others to do for you. Imagine if you were a paparazzi though – I expect you would be asked to delete stuff all the time. Like the guy who photographed Britney with the umbrella. That’s such a great photo, but I bet they were asked to delete that or not sell it to the publication.
Did you miss the last episode?
Episode 17 was an interview with Michelle Grace Hunder when we talked about photography contracts.