Italy 2018 | F.lli Di Malta Garage

Hey everyone, I am currently vacationing in Italy and visiting my exchange brother Valerio. I have been taking photos and over the weeks I will try and get as many out as I can. Here is the first one, a short photo story from the F.lli Di Malta garage in Rome owned by Valerio's father.

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Unpaid

Often I get messages asking me to shoot events, portraits or what not for them. More often than not they are friends or friends of friends or people I have networked with. I have always just trusted my clients to pay me, my rates aren't outrageous by anyone's standards (well maybe for the people who think "exposure" is sufficient payment, but that's for another post). I had heard of photographers saying, "everyone you work for should sign a contract, people will screw you." I even had a subject tell me the other day that "you're too nice, people will push you around man."

One thing I have always overlooked is contracts. They sound scary and to be quite honest for the small amounts I usually charge it didn't seem necessary. 

Flashback to November 19th, I get a message on Twitter from a basketball coach asking if I could come take some photos for his website. I'm always happy to meet new people and when money is offered Its hard to say no. 

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I head out the next day to go photograph his practice at a gym about 30 mins away from me. About halfway through the practice Aubrey comes over and introduces himself. He explains to me that he loves my work and found me through a friend of mine. "I'm going to be using you a ton, I want to get you gigs with pros and coming players as well." I was so excited, getting a chance to work directly with pro athletes at 18 years old, that's incredible.

But then the bomb hits. He tells me "Hey man, I have to pay my rent for my gym, I can pay you at the beginning of the next month." Maybe I was blinded by what he just said, or maybe I just trusted him.

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Imported, edited, posted! I send the files off to him with the idea that I would be paid very soon, it was the end of November already.  Well, I sit here 5 months later still unpaid and unsure what to do.

Left on delivered for months on end. No response or some kind of excuse. I know that $150 isn't much, and I'm sure I could have charged much more, but this is theft, this is stealing from me.

Not only did I take photos I also produced a video for him, my friend went out to go shoot the video and I promised him pay as well. Yet he is still stuck waiting here just like me!

And this brings us back to the contracts, something I wish I had right now. I'm stuck, I don't think I can take him to small claims and I doubt he's going to pay up anytime soon. That contract could have saved me and my friend from being screwed.

I wanted to provide a timeline of what happened, so here it is.

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 Proposal and 1st time going out shooting for him.

Proposal and 1st time going out shooting for him.

 1st time asked about getting paid for the first shoot.

1st time asked about getting paid for the first shoot.

 2nd time being asked to shoot.

2nd time being asked to shoot.

 2nd time being asked to shoot, but updating I can't make it and my friend will come out to shoot.

2nd time being asked to shoot, but updating I can't make it and my friend will come out to shoot.

 Being told i'm finally getting paid for the work the first and second time I shot for him.

Being told i'm finally getting paid for the work the first and second time I shot for him.

 At this point the Saturday had passed (like 2 months ago) and I was never told where to meet to get the payment. I had only sent him the video from the second session, he hadn't paid and I was starting to get suspicious. 

At this point the Saturday had passed (like 2 months ago) and I was never told where to meet to get the payment. I had only sent him the video from the second session, he hadn't paid and I was starting to get suspicious. 

 After a good amount of messages sent his way this is the last I have heard from him, I continue to try and contact him but he does not respond.

After a good amount of messages sent his way this is the last I have heard from him, I continue to try and contact him but he does not respond.

I hate getting taken advantage of, everyone does. At the end of the day, the lesson learned is to always have a contact, big or small it's worth it to protect yourself. I wouldn't even be in this uncertain position if I had asked him to sign something that day I shot. If anyone has any advice on what to do feel free to contact me through my about page or anywhere else.

Keep your images safe, and keep your money safer.

I Hate Image Theft

Today was a long day, its always a long day when I have to go to school. Im in the final stretch of my senior year of high school with only a few months left. Im one foot out the door already if i'm being honest, I have a bigger focus on outside projects than actual schoolwork at this point. I take my photography and my brand very seriously. I care about the art that I make and I believe that in return people care and respect it as well. But every so often I find myself in a unfortunate place just like I did today that makes me second guess myself. 

 Cristian Colmán of FC Dallas celebrates scoring against Colorado (Also the image that was stolen by the blog) | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Cristian Colmán of FC Dallas celebrates scoring against Colorado (Also the image that was stolen by the blog) | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

I received a text from one of my friends, and current photo intern for the Texas Rangers, Dylan asking me if this blog had gotten my permission to use my image. I clicked the link to find my photo plastered all over their social and website. Not cool.

Things like this frustrate the hell out of me. It seems like something so small, but to me as a creator you are taking advantage of me. I have spent time and money to the place where I am able to even to get that shot. I don't work for free, no one does, so why should you think its okay to steal my content. 

People like to say that it is partly on us as the photographers. I like to post my work and some of it I post without watermarks. But in no way does that make me any bit of an accomplice in that crime. I do protect my work with watermarks, but even then I still get people stealing or altering my work to get the watermark out. I have metadata on all my photos, I have a service that helps me detect theft, and constantly me and other photographers keep our eyes out for potential theft. I understand anytime I post a photo on social media it could go anywhere, but when it ends up as a leader photo on one of the largest papers in Argentina thats outrageous.

Publications should know better, people should know better. You wouldn't walk out of a museum with a Picasso, so why are you doing that online?

 FC Dallas Matt Hedges scores a goal against CS Cartagines (Also the image that was stolen by newspaper  La Nación  | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

FC Dallas Matt Hedges scores a goal against CS Cartagines (Also the image that was stolen by newspaper La Nación | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Taking care of issues like this is usually pretty easy. If i'm being honest Most of the time if its a amateur website/blog or some Twitter user. There are very easy ways to help protect your work as a freelancer. 

  • Watermark your photos: If your image gets stolen and you don't know about it the watermark can help the photo find its way back to you. Also, you at least feel somewhat confident in posting that image to social media.
  • Copyright Photos in Your Metadata: Protect your images, add your info to your image. Here is a video that shows you how to do it in Lightroom. 
  • Keep an Eye Out: I use a website call Pixsy to essentially watch over my photos for me. It reverse image searches with the images you feed to and gives you matches around the web. You can file claims and takedowns of those images allowing you to make money on stolen photos as well.
  • Twitter: This is where I get the most issues, filing a DMCA takedown request is easy with Twitter. Just fill out this form.
  • Instagram: filing a DMCA takedown request is also easy with Instagram. Just fill out this form.

As a photographer you have to protect your work. It can seem like you're being an ass by demanding payment or filing a takedown but you are protecting your value as a creative. Stay frustrated but don't be defeated.

FC Dallas vs. C.S. Cartaginés

Soccer is finally back! I don't know if you can tell know you cant see the smile on my face as I write this but trust me its there. I have been dying to shoot some good soccer for months now and that time has finally come around. Its preseason, and you know what that means, relaxed rules and cold weather!

 FC Dallas ball boy juggles a new MLS ball. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

FC Dallas ball boy juggles a new MLS ball. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

I like to think that I can stand the cold since I was born and raise in Washington State. Well, Saturday proved otherwise! After 30 mins in the misty cold I shakily ran for shelter in the warm press box. After a half a box of free press box pizza and a coffee later I headed back out to shoot the second half.

 FC Dallas' Reggie Cannon battles for the ball. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

FC Dallas' Reggie Cannon battles for the ball. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

With only a week and a half weeks until the start of CONCACAF Champions League for FC Dallas the team looked really good. I expect another deep run from them this year!

 Tesho rabonas the ball | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Tesho rabonas the ball | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Sachse vs. Rockwall

The Texas high school football playoffs are getting closer and closer each week to the big final at AT&T Stadium. This week was the area round of the playoffs and I was out covering Sachse High School again like usual. Sachse faced off against a cinderella story Rockwall team that looked absolutely unstoppable coming off of a 23-7 win over The Woodlands. Last year in the area round The Woodlands had knocked Sachse out of the playoffs. 

 Sachse High School warms up before their area round playoff game against Rockwall High School. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor DX 18-55 f3.5-5.6 GII

Sachse High School warms up before their area round playoff game against Rockwall High School. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor DX 18-55 f3.5-5.6 GII

The sun was out and the weather was perfect Saturday at Allen Eagle Stadium. I can not explain how much I love day games, high shutter speeds and low ISO's all day long! this was my first game breaking out my brand new D500 body with battery grip. I was blown away by the focusing system and the ten frames per second. Coming from a D7200, which isn't a bad camera at all, the D500 is a clear step up on every level. 

 Sachse's Jalen Mayden slips past a Rockwall defender. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Sachse's Jalen Mayden slips past a Rockwall defender. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Both teams fans came out in full force! Rockwalls student section made an amazing backdrop for all my photos. Shooting in a full stadium is a luxury you wont always have. Its even more rare that you get that at a high school game. I can't express in words how amazing Allen Eagle Stadium is. Its a high school stadium that looks and feels like a college environment, it reminded me a ton of SMU's Ford Stadium.

 Sachse's Isaiah Humphries grabs Rockwall's QB Jacob Clark by his face mask. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Sachse's Isaiah Humphries grabs Rockwall's QB Jacob Clark by his face mask. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

The first half was dominated by big defensive plays by both teams. Sachse's offense struggled throughout the first half only putting up 10 points. The run game seemed to be the only thing that Rockwall's defense couldn't handle. Sachse running back Christian Cole rushed for 153.7 yards and accounting for 53% of the teams total yards.

 Final play of the game, Rockwall on 4th down, ball on Sachse's 1/2-yard line. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Final play of the game, Rockwall on 4th down, ball on Sachse's 1/2-yard line. | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

After a final play that left Sachse just two yards short of winning the game it went to overtime. Rockwall won the toss and elected to defend first. After a 23 yard pass completed Derrick Rose, Sachse was up 24-17 with Rockwall getting one last possession to push the game to double overtime. after a first down and a few short runs and a failed rush on 3rd down Rockwall was on a 4th down, ball on Sachse's 1/2-yard line. One single stop would win the game for Sachse. The quarterback received the snap and handed the ball off the running back who was stopped just short, game over, Sachse win 24-17!

 Sachse's Tyler Lacy holds up the UIL Division 1 Area Championship trophy | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor DX 18-55 f3.5-5.6 GII

Sachse's Tyler Lacy holds up the UIL Division 1 Area Championship trophy | Shot with Nikon D500 w/ Nikkor DX 18-55 f3.5-5.6 GII

I don't think I have ever been as stressed on a shoot as I was at this game. Im super excited to get to continue shooting Sachse Football as they keep on their run for a State Championship title!

CLICK HERE for full game album.

UNT vs. Army

College football Saturday! It was a cold one in Denton, Texas for UNT's 52-49 win over Army. The one time I forget my Nikon windbreaker there is a super cold wind! Other than the cold it was a high scoring game with lots, and lots, and LOTS of running plays. Army is known for running the football which makes a big challenge for me as a photographer because running plays are repetitive and hard to get an interesting shot of without a long lens. 

 UNT's Jalen Guyton runs out of the tunnel. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

UNT's Jalen Guyton runs out of the tunnel. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Having never shot at UNT I was extremely happy with everything there from the fans to the press accommodations. I can't speak highly enough about the UNT's Jordan Stepp he helped me last minute get a press credential and was super friendly. 

 UNT's Jeffery Wilson rushes through the gap.

UNT's Jeffery Wilson rushes through the gap.

Lighting was no problem with my new f2.8. I was able to shoot 1/1000 with 2000 ISO the whole night with no problems. The stadium lighting was outstanding as well which helped a ton with not having to push the ISO. 

 Army's Jordan Asberry rushes past a missed UNT tackle.

Army's Jordan Asberry rushes past a missed UNT tackle.

With this being my last college game before bowl games start I can't help but get excited for the many I am getting to shoot this year! Lets go bowling!

CLICK HERE for the full game album.

Sachse vs. Lake Highlands

Texas high school football playoffs are here! The stakes are high and the competition is intense. This was my second year of shooting playoff football and Texas and I can tell you without a doubt playoffs are my favorite time to shoot. Being connected with the team and fans makes it so much more enjoyable. Not to mention there is a huge motive to get great shots and go the extra mile. 

 Tori Washington rushes for the Sachse Mustangs. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Tori Washington rushes for the Sachse Mustangs. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

This was my first game shooting with my new Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 and I am falling in love with this lens! Its are great lens for a very inexpensive price, I picked mine up on eBay in almost brand new condition for $500. There are a few downsides, the weight and loud focusing noise being the only real issues. Both are not really a big deal if you have a monopod and don't need to shoot in silent. I can not recommend this lens enough for young sports shooters or anyone with a limited budget. Not to mention f2.8 keep their value.

 Mississippi State commit Jalen Mayden searches for a pass while the Sachse offensive line battles Lake Highlands defensive threats. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

Mississippi State commit Jalen Mayden searches for a pass while the Sachse offensive line battles Lake Highlands defensive threats. | Shot with Nikon D7200 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8

I am anxiously anticipating a great game next week as Sachse gears up for the game against Rockwall. Heres to hoping Sachse makes a deep run and for great photos for me and all of you guys!

CLICK HERE for a full album of images.

NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway

This past Sunday I was invited out to Texas Motor Speedway to enjoy my first ever NASCAR race. No press credentials, just tickets. I want to talk about how to get good images from the stands, its a starting point for lots of people in this field and its good to know some tips. 

 Cars pass by durring a caution.

Cars pass by durring a caution.

One of my favorite things to do when in the stand shooting is use the crowd to my advantage. Sometimes they can tell a better story than the people on the field. This next image I captured is a good example of that, you still have the action of the cars but the focus in on a race goer. 

 NASCAR fan watches as the cars race by for the first lap.

NASCAR fan watches as the cars race by for the first lap.

Capturing action can be really hard when you're far away. Find a good spot, maybe you move closer as the game goes on. Wait for the action to come to you and get ready to snap.

 Race winner Kevin Harvick races down the straight.

Race winner Kevin Harvick races down the straight.

It was awesome to be able to experience something so iconic as NASCAR. Huge thanks to my friend Dylan Nadwodny for taking me and explaining everything I didn't know!

SMU vs. UCF

I love shooting College football! Even when ESPN draws the games out its one of my favorite sports to shoot. Anytime you get to shoot a ranked team like UCF the stakes go up. Your photos are more likely to get used and published, that added pressure can be frustrating when you dont have the best day of shooting. I think the best thing to do is take the mindset of the player, this is just another game that we need to win. 

 UCF player comes out of the locker room.

UCF player comes out of the locker room.

This game was great, SMU made UCF look nothing like the 15th ranked team in the nation. It was a shootout leaders going back and forth up until halftime.

 SMU's Tyson Neals and Kyran Mitchell celebrate after a huge hit on UCF's Tre'Quan Smith.

SMU's Tyson Neals and Kyran Mitchell celebrate after a huge hit on UCF's Tre'Quan Smith.

One of the only negatives of games like these is how much time they take. I was at the stadium from 3:45pm to 10:30pm thats an entire day of shooting just for one game. 

 Wyatt Miller celebrate with Adrian Killins Jr. in the endzone.

Wyatt Miller celebrate with Adrian Killins Jr. in the endzone.

A great win for UCF continuing their undefeated streak and securing their ranking in the AP Poll. Im excited to see where this team goes from here, same with SMU. Final score was 31-24.

 

Full Album: https://www.underdogdynasty.com/2017/11/5/16608522/photo-gallery-recap-smu-mustangs-vs-ucf-knights-american-aac-scott-frost-chad-morris

FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids

On Wednesday, after 10 games without a win, FC Dallas snapped their losing streak versus the Colorado Rapids. The 2-0 final score came after FC Dallas came out blazing with two goals in the first 15 minutes. 

 FC Dallas Maximiliano Urruti beats a Rapids defender Eric Miller.

FC Dallas Maximiliano Urruti beats a Rapids defender Eric Miller.

The one concern for the game was the weather, which held off until after halftime. Shooting in the rain can be a challenge but can also produce awesome photos. Raindrops in your shots just brings, in my opinion, more action to the image. Just make sure your camera is weather sealed or get yourself a cover for your lens and body.

 Rapids Defender Kortne Ford and FC Dallas Midfielder  Roland Lamah  track down a ball.

Rapids Defender Kortne Ford and FC Dallas Midfielder Roland Lamah track down a ball.

Shooting late games means pushing your ISO. Seeing the grain in my images does really bother me but its almost unavoidable. Find the spot in the stadium with the best light and use that to your advantage. Its going to be hard to have no grain but learning a stadium and lighting will bring you to the next level for shooting. 

 FC Dallas Maximiliano Urruti takes down a Rapids player

FC Dallas Maximiliano Urruti takes down a Rapids player

View the whole album here: https://www.bigdsoccer.com/2017/9/28/16378558/fc-dallas-vs-colorado-rapids-match-photos

Sachse vs. Mesquite

61-0, I Repeat 61-0! Sachse dropped 61 points on Mesquite last night and it was amazing. Breaking the largest margin of victory in Sachse history, the Thursday night football game was a blast to shoot. Most of my photos from this game were from the first half, sun is starting to set earlier and earlier making it harder and harder to get those killer shots. I think my best advice for shooting High School Football in low light is to work with the light you have while its there. Kill it in the first half, be dialed in on every play. Second half you can take it bit easier and focus on finding the right spots with good light. 

 Sachse and Mesquite team captains await the coin flip.

Sachse and Mesquite team captains await the coin flip.

As I shoot all of the new Sachse uniforms it reminds me how important the subjects dress in an image. The lighter the colors the brighter and sometimes thats not always a good thing. Underexpose and image in the dark but have a bright white uniform and you're going to have a headache. The orange was not too bad this game to shoot but as it got later was a bit of a challenge when I came home to edit. 

 Isaiah Humphries intercepts a pass.

Isaiah Humphries intercepts a pass.

It was a good week to be a Mustang! on to the next one.

Sachse vs. Byron Nelson

I can't believe it's Senior year! Last night was my first high school football game as a senior and it was a crazy one. Final score was 48-6 with a huge Sachse win to start out the year. This year is my first year shooting for our school yearbook, its a new an interesting challenge that i'm super excited to be a part of!

 Sachse High School's Drill Team "The Swingsters"

Sachse High School's Drill Team "The Swingsters"

The challenges of shooting high school football come completely from the lack of light in the environment. This isn't AT&T Stadium, the lighting is horrible! my trick to combat that is to shoot as much as I can while the sun is still up. Always check when the sun sets and adjust your settings from there it will help in the long run.

 Sachse High School and Penn State commit, number 23, Isaiah Humphries runs out of the tunnel.

Sachse High School and Penn State commit, number 23, Isaiah Humphries runs out of the tunnel.

Photographing High School Football is such a fun experience, especially as a student. The intimacy you get into the game is unmatched. Its great to see friends on the field and share those moments with them. 

 

 Sachse High School's Isaiah Humphries breaks a tackle after a pick.

Sachse High School's Isaiah Humphries breaks a tackle after a pick.

With game one done i'm even more hyped for the year to come, lets go Mustangs!