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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online
Advanced Questions
by Chuck McKern

With over 12 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.

Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE.  Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions.

First I would like to say your magazine is great. I have never seen a larger concentration of well-written articles. I thoroughly enjoy reading your information.

My question relates to Moose's article on photographing birds on the Lee Island Coast. How does he protect his equipment? The wind around this area is constant. Therefore it kicks up a lot of sand. The spray from the ocean on the beach can be very corrosive. I was told if you took video equipment to the beach, the camera would have problems until it just quit working. What are his / your recommendations?


Moose responds - I don't do anything when I'm shooting, I just shoot. But my gear is cleaned at the end of each day.

I just finished reading Jim McGee's article on Creating Fine Art Prints at Home. I was wondering why he used layers to dodge and burn different areas of the image. Why not use the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop?

Pat Morris

Jim responds - Because I've never been very happy with the results. I'll use them for something quick and dirty but I find I get better control and better results using the approach outlined in the article. That way you're working from separate originals that have the most detail in both highlight and shadow areas. If you're starting with an image that's a "best compromise" much of that detail will have already been lost and the tools can't recover what's not there. Please keep in mind that I only go to this much trouble when producing a large print. You wouldn't want to do this with every photo.

I own a Nikon D100 and I need a longer lens than my current 80 to 200 f2.8, my 70 to 300 F4.0 is not very sharp. I would like to hear from users of the Sigma 50 to 500mm?

Frank Cruz.

We reviewed the Sigma 50-500mm lens and we were impressed with it. Click here to read the review

From time to time I am hired to take wedding pictures and portraits. My question is, who owns the negatives, what kind of a release is needed for me to retain the use of the negatives? Also I like to take pictures of classic cars at public cruise-ins, would I need a release if I wanted to use these pictures for public display or sale when I am not hired to take the pictures?

Robert Damm

Ownership of negatives from a wedding shoot depends on the arrangements in the photographer's contract. In most situations the photographer retains the rights to the images (you keep the negs). However, this puts the burden of printing and reorders on the photographer.

There are a couple advantages to doing this. If you have the negatives, the client has to come to you for additional prints, meaning more revenue for you. This also allows you to assure the quality of the prints (some may be going to potential customers). One of the worst things to happen to a photographer is that bad prints get out there. Word of mouth that you're a bad photographer will soon follow - killing future business.

Part-time wedding photographers don't always have the time to deal with printing and customers on a day-to-day basis. They'll usually sell the negatives as part of their wedding package. Sometimes their role is just show-up, shoot the wedding hand over the film and the customer is on their own for prints and wedding albums. Other times, the photographer will provide the proofs and book and provide the negatives when the book is delivered.

As far as shooting classic cars, if you are shooting somebody's private property (car, land, etc.) you should have a Property Release if you are going to use the images for resale or promotion (ex. calendars or stock).

For samples of releases and contracts (as well as other handy forms for photographers), there are two books you should check out: "Business And Legal Forms For Photographers" by Tad Crawford; Allworth Press, ISBN 0-9607118-2-1, and "The Photographer's Business And Legal Handbook" by Leonard Duboff; Images Press, ISBN 0-929667-02-6.

Regarding the reader's question in the January issue about the 24-70mm Sigma lens. I tried this lens, using your standard lens test (tripod, brick wall, colored towels, etc). The lens was really sharp at all focal lengths. The only problem was the severe--very severe--vignetting at the 24mm length. It was so bad that it made the lens unusable to me, so I returned it.

Tom Rains

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