Photographers Stefan and Stefan of SIA Weddings in Belgrade, Serbia, linked up with some local vendors to put together an editorial bridal shoot. “Our goal was to create images in which our future bride can imagine herself,” the duo explains. “So our approach was the same as would be on a wedding day. We let everyone express their feelings and personality and just waited for the pieces to fall in place.”
Their model, an actress, put on a wedding dress and was directed to walk through these beautiful french doors. “That is all we did,” the photographers say. “Sara was so sensual and relaxed in front of the camera that we almost fell in love with her.”
(Shot on a Canon 6D and Tamron 35mm f/1.8 VC lens at f/1.8, 1/125 sec. and ISO 800.)
Do you include videography in your event photography packages? If so, there are some special aspects of copyright law of which you should be aware and some special provisions you should definitely include in your contract.
One of the most important aspects of copyright law that an event photographer can know is the proper use and licensure of music. Everyone uses music in their highlight reels and edited video productions. Wedding or event clients may request a specific song and the client may even give you a legally purchased and downloaded copy of the song to use. But it is important to understand that purchasing and downloading a song for personal use does not give you the right to use it in an audiovisual production, especially a video that you produce and sell for money.
A copyright is, at its core, much the same as any other property. Owning the copyright means you get to exclude others from using it, and a copyright owner typically exercises this right by only selling the right to use the copyright in specific ways, thus excluding every other potential use. So, if you purchase and download a song from iTunes, you have only purchased the right to listen to that song yourself or with a small group of family or friends. You cannot perform or broadcast that song publically, at a bar or venue, over the radio or on the internet. You cannot make another copy of that song (aside from incidental copying for personal use). You cannot alter or edit that song. And most importantly, you cannot include that song in a new audiovisual work. In order to do any of these things, you must purchase those rights from the rights holder. Doing so is usually not difficult, as most music rights are held by large companies that sell licensure for standard rates—the biggest and oldest music licensing companies are ASCAP and BMI, but TuneCore, Rumblefish and YouLicense are all new players on the scene.
Failing to acquire the proper rights, however, can be a hassle. Legitimate rights holders, as well as copyright trolls, can and do sue photographers and videographers over improperly licensed songs included in highlight reels and videos, and because most rights holders are well-organized corporations with a thorough system of documentation, these cases can be very costly and hard to defend.
There are two ways to protect yourself from this kind of lawsuit. The first is to simply ensure that you always properly license the music that you use. Talk to a copyright attorney if you are uncomfortable navigating a music licensing company, but the principle is simple: Make sure that you are purchasing the right to use the song in an audiovisual work.
The second way to protect yourself is when a client brings you a song to use and claims to have the rights themselves; maybe they wrote the song themselves, or it’s a recording of their child performing a song. Your contract should include an indemnification clause that states that in the event that you are sued for copyright infringement on the basis of any song provided by the client, the client will cover the costs of your defense and any judgments against you. Be careful here! This indemnification will not cover you if you negligently fail to license a song. It will only work if your client provides music they claim to have the rights to use. Always double check whether rights are available for purchase before agreeing to use an unknown song in a video product.
It’s also important to note that a performance of a copyrighted song—a singer performing with a band, for example—requires its own licensure. If you are taping an event that includes live performances, you will need to license the songs performed, or at the very least require that the client warrant that they have the proper rights to the song and will indemnify you in the event of a lawsuit. Don’t hesitate to speak to an attorney to help you sort out the tricky bits of music licensure to make sure you don’t get sued for copyright infringement.
Aaron M. Arce Stark is a lawyer for artists and entrepreneurs. Learn more about his law firm, Arce Stark & Haskell LLP, at ashlawllp.com.
This article is for informational purposes only. Contact a lawyer for legal advice.
Photographer Simone Maruccia went to a small village in the hills of central Italy to document this outdoor Catholic wedding. As the bride was led down the aisle by her father toward her groom who awaited her at the altar, Maruccia knew what was coming.
“I positioned myself in the right place to capture the moment while the father uncovered his daughter’s face and gave her to her future husband,” she says. “The moment was very emotionally touching, like seeing your bride for the first time.”
(Shot with a Sony a7R III and 35mm f/1.4 lens at f/2, 1/1000 sec. and ISO 125.)
When it comes to the importance of capturing quality audio during the wedding, Pabla’s take is succinct: “It’s huge.” For him and other cinematographers, the day’s audio is as important as the visuals and requires just as much prep and care.
Pabla will also put an H4 recorder on the DJ booth to record ambient audio. “It sits on a super clamp, which is important because otherwise the recorder will pick up the vibrations from the DJ’s setup,” he notes.
There’s another H6 recorder that sits in front of the DJ’s speaker, which is used strictly for backup, and another H4 connected to a shotgun mic pointed toward the dance floor. “I think it’s important to have a good combination of ambient and live audio,” Pabla says. “People don’t just want to hear the music, they want to hear the crowds.”
For speeches, Pabla drops a thin mic into a sleeve and clamps it onto the DJ’s mic. This way he has a relatively clean backup in case there’s an issue with the audio feed from the soundboard. Adams will also bring a wireless lavalier for the mic stand for speeches in case there’s an issue with the feed he’s recording from the soundboard. From the soundboard, he’ll run a splitter to record two separate audio tracks simultaneously—one high and one lower.
While the soundboard output will produce the cleanest audio signal, several filmmakers cautioned against relying on it alone, since DJs can alter settings or even disconnect your feed without warning. “I’ll usually run an XLR from one of the DJ’s speakers into a Tascam DR40,” says Meinecke. “I know people prefer the board, but with the speaker you know you’ll get anything that comes out of it.”
For vows, most filmmakers take a similar approach: Place a small lav mic on the groom and the officiant or the lectern, but not the bride. The two lavs will be enough to pick up the bride’s audio very clearly, Meinecke says.
The hugely popular HBO series may be over now but the obsession continues (and in full disclosure, I am only on Season 4, so I am still in the thick of it!).
When photographer Natalie Licini took this piercing portrait last year, she was indeed inspired by Game of Thrones but also had something specific in mind for this image—working on a personal project that goes beyond what she typically creates for clients.
“I find it so exciting to dream, design and execute a vision where I can make something outside my known brand look,” she explains. Like with this image. In late 2018, in preparation for another WPPI Print Competition, she asked her neighbor’s two sons to model a GOT-inspired shoot for her so she could then enter them and hopefully win (she scored an 83 for this one, which garnered her a Silver award).
Licini often turns personal projects into award-winning imagery; read exactly how she accomplishes that here.
(Shot with a Sony A7R III and 85mm lens, and a Profoto B10 OCF flash head with a 5-foot Octabox.)
These projects are not time-consuming or costly, and I find inspiration for them from other artists, as well as from movies and my travels. I sit down and write up a plan and rewrite it until it comes to life. Next, I gather my ideas and create a mood board on Pinterest. Then I block out a day in the next three to four weeks for a photo shoot that includes hair and makeup styling. I shop for unique clothing and accessories on Amazon or at vintage shops in Manhattan to bring my idea to life.
A trip to Italy full of Roman and Greek statue sightings inspired this image back in 2016.
In 2016, my personal project was inspired by Roman and Greek statues from my trip to Italy. I was proud of this body of work as it helped me to consider posing my boudoir clients in a way that I had never previously done. In 2017, my personal project was inspired by the works of Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. It helped me create images that told a story of my client, Amanda, who was pregnant and expecting her first child with her husband, Sebastian, a talented artist and painter in New York City. Sebastian planned to paint an image of his pregnant wife that I incorporated into my own image.
From 2017, my client Amanda getting sketched by her artist husband, Sebastian.
In late 2018, in preparation for another WPPI print competition, I asked my neighbor’s two sons to model a Game of Thrones-inspired shoot for me. I purchased clothes and pinned and taped everything to fit the 8- and 10-year-old boys.
This past February, I took a second workshop with Philadelphia-based fine-art photographer and painter Leah Macdonald to create mixed-media encaustics, which involves painting photographs with wax and wax paints. (Having previously attended a 2014 workshop with her where I created some pieces I am still very proud of, I couldn’t wait to return.)
Features: The UTC-63 has five leg sections that are positionable in three different angles. There’s also a center column with two sections. Its ball head includes an Arca Swiss style quick-release plate and a bubble level. When it’s time to pack up, the legs fold back a full 180 degrees, allowing the tripod to become very compact.
Features: The Sprinter II is a two-stage tripod with a dual action leg lock system that lets you adjust both levers simultaneously. It includes a 75mm die-cast alloy bowl and an integrated carrying handle. The tripod feet feature stainless steel spikes that can be replaced with rubber feet.
Features: With three leg sections lockable into three different angles, the TR343 can be adjusted to fit a variety of shooting needs. It includes three stainless steel spikes when you need to secure the tripod to rougher terrain. The legs are built with 10x carbon fiber woven into a cross pattern for durability and controlled by weather-sealed twist locks. The apex features a 3/8-16 mount, an integrated level and three 1/4-20 mounting points for adding accessories. The tripod also can accommodate an optional 75mm bowl.
Features: The Robus RC-5558 has four leg sections that can be arrayed in three different angles: 25, 55 and 85 degrees. The tripod’s central spider features a lock to loosen the yoke and a safety pull latch that releases the machined top plate. A 75mm video bowl is included and there’s an optional center column available that extends the RC-5558’s maximum height to 73.25 inches.
Features: This four-section tripod includes an Arca-Swiss compatible quick-release plate and a pair of spiked feet for working on rough terrain. There’s a retractable weight hook you can use to add stabilizing weights, and the tripod legs can be positioned at three independent angles.
Features:The Uprise sports three leg angles with independently lockable leg sections. You can invert your camera on the tripod’s center column for those low-to-the-ground shots. The rubberized feet have push-out spikes when you’re switching up terrains. There’s an accessory mount on the apex. The center column has a hook for hanging stabilizing weights. It has a 75mm bowl head.
Features:The CA180’s center column can be set at any angle up to 180 degrees for shooting at untraditional angles. All the legs fold back to make the tripod more compact for travel. There are 1/4-20 female threads at the leg platform for adding accessories as well as a 1/4-20 post with both 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 female threads for column accessories. That column lets you mount microphones, lights or a second camera on the same tripod.
Features: This video-friendly tripod ships with a 360-degree fluid head and features a center spreader for improved stability. The rubber feet have retractable metal spikes and the leg locks are oversized to make them easier to manipulate with gloved hands.
Features: Named after punk rocker Patti Smith, the Patti tripod is the company’s first with flip-lock legs. It has a reversible and removable center column and four leg sections that can be arranged in three different angles. You’ll have your choice of two color styles: grey with a blue AirHed tripod head and accents of copper or a matte black version with accents of British Racing Green. Patti ships with rubber Bootz, which are detachable and can be replaced with the optional Heelz, Stilettoz and Clawz foot accessories.
Features: With the Steadimate 15, you can pair the camera control of a motorized gimbal with the weight distribution benefits of a Steadicam vest. The Steadimate lets you swap one motorized gimbal handle for an adapter that anchors your gimbal of choice (like a Ronin or Freefly Movi) into the vest.
Features: The Air 2’s already impressive battery life can be prolonged by plugging a power pack into the gimbal’s USB-C port. You can also use the Air 2 to provide power out to an external monitor or lights. The Air 2 supports motion time-lapses, tracking and zoom time-lapses as well. An upgraded companion app delivers support for object tracking, panoramic shooting and more. The gimbal has hard controls for focus, zoom, playback, shutter, EV and white balance. You can customize the joystick, wheel and trigger as well. The Air 2 supports a variety of shooting modes and is capable of moving cameras around the pitch, roll and yaw axes in a variety of combinations. In Inception Mode, you can rotate your camera 360 degrees on the pan axis to create a spiraling zoom effect. In Sport Gear Mode, the camera pans quickly to create the sensation of whirling motion.
Features: The Ronin-S is a three-axis gimbal with a Push mode to adjust the pan and tilt the axis by hand. There’s also a new Sport mode to help you track fast-moving subjects. If you need to choreograph more advanced camera moves, you can connect the Ronin-S to your mobile device and use the app to access modes like Panorama, Hyperlapse, Track and CamAnchor. The stabilizer’s battery can be hot-swapped during use and there are dedicated buttons for camera and gimbal control.
When Romanian photographer Horia Manolache assumed the challenge of what he calls finding balance on the verge of history, his ambition, he says, was to cross the spacial and time borders at once.
“I began photographing people who have uprooted themselves from their homes because of war, poverty or lack of prospects and reached countries very different than their own under a refugee identity,” he explains. “I then complemented their physical travel with an opportunity to travel through time under a royal identity.”
Read more and see the rest of the stirring portraits—including Queen Mary of Romania based on the painting by Philip de Laszio and Peter the Great by Paul Delaroche on the Repainting History website. This project was realized with the support of The Administration of the National Cultural Fund.
(Shot with the the Canon EOS 5DS and 70-40mm lens at 40mm, F/19 and 1/125 of a sec.)
Here, we present a different view of the same bride, this time with her groom, Ben, as both look regal and proud. Says Pavel about the setup of this image: “There was a super cute park right next to the venue where the photographers mostly take pictures (at least that is what the venue owner told me) so I thought to myself: “Cute… I will do something different.”
Pavel says he scouted aroun the area before the wedding and found a sweet parking garage close by. “I had only 15 minutes to spend with Amber and Ben for some portraits and so I went straight to the garage where the sun created all the magic!”