Author Photos Proposal
As some of you know, I’m a bit of a photography hobbyist — that is to say, very much not a professional. But it’s something I enjoy, and something I’d like to get better at.
It occurred to me as I was looking at my mostly-outdated press kit pics that authors need author photos.
Some authors pay professional photographers for their author photos, and that’s great. Others go through shots their friends have taken and try to find the best ones. And sometimes we just panic and snap a bunch of selfies and hope for the best, because the editor wants it right now and I can’t find anything and I’m panicking and why can’t I just send a picture of my cat instead?
Anyway, as an idea, what would you think of me offering to do photo sessions at future conventions for authors? I’m not sure exactly how this would work, but it would be good practice and experience for me, and I’d send the authors their pics and rights to use them however they need.
While I’m not a pro, I like to think I don’t completely suck. Here are some of the pics I’ve taken over the past couple of years that people seemed to like. (Keep in mind, these were generally snapped in the spur of the moment, so I didn’t always have time to move for better lighting or background and such.)
What do you think? What are the downsides I’m missing? I figure I’d need to be clear up front that I can’t guarantee perfection. On the other hand, I can probably promise that you’ll get your money’s worth. Ideally, folks get decent photos they can use, and I get to have fun practicing and getting better at something I enjoy.
I figure I could either do it informally, with folks emailing me ahead of time to set something up at a convention, or else talk to the con about maybe getting an hour or two on the schedule to either shoot outside or in a program room or…well, it would probably be best to scout locations beforehand, to be honest.
Anyway, feedback welcome and appreciated.
May 4, 2016 @ 3:07 pm
Will you keep rights to the extent you can add their photos to your portfolio to show other prospective people your work?
Jim C. Hines
May 4, 2016 @ 3:14 pm
That’s what I was thinking. Probably a short release form signed by me and the author, giving me the rights to include and display it for the portfolio, and them the rights to do pretty much anything they want with it, so long as it’s credited to me.
May 4, 2016 @ 7:19 pm
Those photos are great! I’m super impressed those were spur-of-the-moment.
I was also going to bring up the release thing, but it seems like you have that covered. 🙂 IANAL, but I think America-wide photographers automatically retain copyright but state laws vary on whether model releases are required or not, so best to have it covered from both ends (as in, they give you rights to their image and you give them rights to the photo).
I think people would really like this, and I think your skills are unquestionably good enough for this to be an awesome thing. I say go for it. 🙂
May 4, 2016 @ 7:36 pm
Dang, I wish I was going to a convention you were going to …
Nice shots. Personality for the win!
Jim C. Hines
May 4, 2016 @ 10:27 pm
Definitely better to be safe and get something in writing, yeah 🙂
May 5, 2016 @ 12:06 pm
From my experiences with my wife’s photography business, you probably want to also provide a copyright release statement. There are many places that will refuse to photocopy or print out photos if they look professional (“if it looks good, you didn’t take it”).
Having the model release is also good for your side.
The hard part will be if you decide to have a more controlled environment. Lighting kits and the stuff can be annoying to lug around. If you stick with ad-hoc, you’d probably be okay.
Overall, I think your skill is definitely up to it.
Jim C. Hines
May 5, 2016 @ 2:02 pm
I doubt I’d be dragging any lighting kits around, at least in the near future. And I’m working on a release form. So far, here are the clauses I’ve come up with, but I’ll probably do a bit more work and then share it in a future blog post for feedback, and to make sure everything’s fair.
1. Photographer grants permission for Subject to use photographs of Subject for any and all purposes, including online display, publicity, advertising, and both personal and commercial use. Where posted publicly, photographs must credit Jim C. Hines as the photographer.
2. As the legal copyright holder, Photographer grants permission for Subject to copy and print photos without limitation or restriction.
3. Subject agrees that Photographer may use and display photographs he takes of them as part of Photographer’s portfolio, and for purposes such as publicity and advertising.
4. Photographer will not sell or license photographs of Subject to anyone else.
May 5, 2016 @ 10:17 pm
I’m also a total amateur who’s done a lot of shooting at cons. I’d say the best advice is to shoot outside when you can. Unless you have $$$ for pro equipment, the light’s better out there. If you can get some subjects interested, you may also want to chat with con organizers about a location they can spare, which would allow you to bring more kit with you.
I hope you get some business, the shots are awesome!