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.
“Photography for me brings a reminder of my grandfathers. Both photojournalists, one for the navy, and one for a newspaper and magazine service.
I think there are a lot of abuse of younger creatives, for example the public school system without a doubt in my mind exploits the services of young photographers and journalists.
The most important part of being a young journalist/photographer is knowing your work and the value of it. I know for a fact that people don’t actually understand the art of photography nor the time it takes to master it. Younger journalists are often taken advantage of and under appreciated just because of their age. A lot of time people won’t hire you to take photos of an event or an occasion just because of your younger age. All while your work is many times better than the person they hired.
I’ve actually had someone call me after and event and explain why they went with another photographer because he was older. They assumed the other would be better because of their age, not experience. In the end they apologized because they were unimpressed with their pictures and felt that they had made a mistake in hiring him over me.
Being a photographer is not only a job, but a lifestyle as well. If anyone is looking to get into an art form; start with photography. It changes the way you see the world.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Valerio Di Malta
"In Italy we have nothing, we are a poor country with a beautiful face. It reminds me of America, the blame is placed on immigrants and poor people. I don't understand how someone could blame another person for trying to make a better life for themselves.
Our politicians continually fail us and take our money. We outed one of the worst presidents we have ever had and now he's showing back up to almost take revenge. People know of Greece its all over the news but what they don't know is we are close to the same situation. Everything is so expensive because of the European Union. We are required to buy other countries expensive exports when we could be buying our own for far less. Why are we allowing our industries to die because of other countries?
I love Italy, it's where my family is, it's where I grew up. I just don't know if I'll live there forever, the US as so many more opportunities."
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
It was cold, wet, and I got sick. The end.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
View the whole album here: https://www.bigdsoccer.com/2017/9/28/16378558/fc-dallas-vs-colorado-rapids-match-photos
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.
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.
It was a good week to be a Mustang! on to the next one.
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!
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.
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.
With game one done i'm even more hyped for the year to come, lets go Mustangs!