Importance Of Managers To Agents

It seems nowadays that models are
constantly concerned about their safety when dealing with photographers, but
they are failing to ask if an “agency” is licensed. In reality dealings with an
unlicensed agency leaves the model, companies and individuals at a higher risk
for loss than dealings with a one on one contract. In many states it is
considered a crime to act as a model
agent without the proper license, and in some it’s a crime to utilize the
services of such persons.

There are some exceptions, depending on the state. For
instance, New York requires “Model Agencies” to be licensed, but “management
companies” do not have licensing requirements. Many of the top agencies in New
York, such as Ford, Wilhelmina and Elite are considered “management companies”
rather than agencies, therefore not being required to obtain an agency license.
Keeping this in mind, having an agency license doesn’t necessarily make a
company legitimate, but it does require that they abide by specific laws
mandated by the state they operate in. It’s always best to reference check the
“agency”, “management company”, or other similar company/individual prior to
agreeing to work with them.

Most agencies do charge their model fees for acquiring images (i.e.
making them comp cards), their space on the agency website, training, or other
portfolio building services. They do so by deducting the funds from work
performed. Some agencies give models the option to deduct the fees from the
revenue collected from paid assignments, or they may also receive the option of
paying the full fees up front. Upon booking a paid assignment the
agency/manager would assess their fees for the booking, deduct a portion or
entire amount for portfolio work, and then issue a pay check for the remainder.
Keep in mind the amount and options the agency puts in front of you may be a
warning sign. A lack of options (particularly, asking you to pay up front and
requiring you to meet with one of the agency’s own photographers, to shoot you
and use those shots for comp cards) could indicate the service is simply a
“photo mill.” It is always best to verify through independent sources how
reputable an agency performs as each service may have their own policies on
service fees.

California case example

Case in point singer Jewel Kilcher, professionally known as
JEWEL” an individual, Plaintiff v. Inga Vainshtein, an individual, and COLD
WAR MANAGEMENT, a business entity of unknown origin. Jewel petitioned the state
to void her contract with the “agent” (Respondent) based on her claim that the agent
“acted as a model agent without the required license.” In this case the Labor
Board Commission Hearing Officer David Gurley concluded that “respondent acted
in the capacity of a model agency and did indeed procure employment without a
license in violation of Labor Code 1700.5”. The ruling ordered “It is hereby
ordered that the 1994 contract between Petitioner, Jewel and respondent Inga
Vainshtein, is unlawful and void ab initio. Respondent has no enforceable
rights under this contract.”

In essence the singer, Jewel, won her claim against
the agent, Vainshtein, but she was unable to collect previously paid commission
to her manager.  Also the agent was unable to collect further pending
commissions from the singer.

How this affects you?

(This case was in California; laws vary from state to state) Contracts
written are not enforceable under most state laws if the agent is not licensed
.
You may find yourself in a position where you performed your services and
cannot collect the contracted fees. Other implications can be in the form of
liability if others represent you and obligations are not met. Being served
with litigation for failing to have the proper licensing, insurance, bond or
other requirement is not worth the risk of pay you may receive from working
with an unlicensed agent.

Now, the issue with Jewel and her mother was really them not wanting to
pay commissions to the person that had built up her career. The record shows
what a disaster that turned out to be for Jewel. They used a technicality to
win the case and if there was any crossing of lines it was all for the benefit
of the model, the deals in fact that were isolated were major turning points
for her career, no harm was done, no double commissions, just a law on the
books that firmly protects model agencies and or lawyers and this is not a
provision that protects model in MOST cases.

The line between agents and managers is quite fuzzy but the model
agencies in LA are pushing very hard to make sure that they are kept in place
while in NY this is not the case. The fact is agents and lawyers are needed to
close deals in CA on behalf of model and the other fact is that managers create
the opportunity for deals to happen and in many cases create the brand that can
be sold by the agents.

When the right team is in place the brand for the model can
be pretty strong, but if you speak to model, the agents are the ones who often
drop the ball and the manager needs to do the heavy lifting. Clearly anyone who
needs a license should have one and having a license is not an indicator of
quality.

In conventional terms the agent is “sales” and the
manager can play like “marketing”. The manager will have the longer
view on a model’s career rather than the immediate transactional value of the
agent who needs to make a commission happen right away. Sometimes that
commission is at the expense of the bigger downstream play on the model.

Managers are in fact an essential part of a model and are
often the most long standing relationships in an models life. It is important
to keep all aspects of this in mind.


MAC VS PC

Which one is better when it comes to photo
and video editing?

If
you consider getting serious about photography and/or videography, you probably
would end up finding your feet on what type of computer you should buy or use
that has the best performance when it comes to photo and video editing. It is a
predicament that has always been there and in fact, I have been seeing reviews
and opinions left and right between using a MacBook Pro or a PC. In lieu of
this, allow me to share my humble opinion about this dilemma through this blog
post and hopefully you can get something out of it.

Firstly,
applications such as adobe Lightroom and photoshop typically use more CPU and
memory than the used graphics card power. Graphic card or GPU is good for
gaming, video editing and rendering 3D, but if the application that you spend
most of your time in does not use much GPU then there is no necessity to have
that certain type of computer that has the super powerful GPU.

Secondly,
as far as the photo editing and using adobe Lightroom are concerned, you must
consider looking at the power that your processor has, the ram and the hard
drive -all three of those things kind of worked together to provide performance
to you. Further, when you are rendering out or exporting photos out of
Lightroom, it is not really using your graphics card, it is using the
performance that your computer has. So, when you are using Lightroom in editing
huge number or volume of photos, the MAC wins. The reason is that sometimes you
will experience lag causes when using the PC and it would be a little time
consuming especially when you import and export photos and convert them to DNG
automatically. The Mac is just more fluid, especially if you use lots of
gradients and radial filters. When it comes to performance boost, it is on the
MAC. On the other hand, with the PC, you have to build something that will work
regardless of the architecture of your OS which may play into the fact that on
the PC, the performance was not that fast in exporting photos which means there
are chances of experiencing lag issues throughout the entire process due to the
large images being imported or edited. However, when it comes to exporting
such, the MAC seems to be a little bit faster.

MAC
has fewer issues than a PC. MAC is more durable, fewer malware attacks and has
less tech support. By contrast, unlike PC, MAC is more expensive, has fewer
options and not upgradeable which consequently implies what you buy is what you
get. Also, the new MacBook Pros have been lambasted for their lack of ports.
The dongle life is not that preferable. In fact, from the moment the new
MacBook Pros with their lack of ports came out, many photographers have been
reconsidering about switching to PC for their mobile editing needs.

A
PC user doesn’t have to switch to a Mac in order to have a good experience
editing photos.  I think it makes a lot
of sense for a photographer to stick with what they know.  But when it comes to in video editing,  the PC is still the winner by far. It has the
full force power which you can even buy, use and install the latest processors,
graphics card and all the latest technology giving you most powerful you can
get in video editing since the benefits include but not limited to faster video
editing, exporting, rendering and overall smooth performance while you are
editing. Aside from that, the PC can still be upgraded these days such as the
RAMs, SSDs and in some cases, you can upgrade other components as well. Then on
the desktop side, you can even build your own full custom system. Having that
said, if you are concern on the life span of your system and an upgrade path,
then may want to consider the PC side. Thus, the clear winner of video editing
is the PC/laptop.

Lastly,
all things considered, I think it all comes down to personal preference since
neither of the two has a big advantage over the other. What reckons the most is
the comfortability. If you are comfortable and competent using PC when editing
both pictures and videos then continue using PC. further, if you are used in
using MAC, then so be it. Or if you are like me who prefers using MAC for photo
editing and PC for video editing, it’s normal. The best fruit of our labor is
reaped out of the mastery and skill of the effort we put in.

Between
the PC and MAC, which of the two is you’re most comfortable using when it comes
to photo editing? How about in video editing? How was your experience?



Photo Editing and Retouching?

Do You Know the Difference Between Editing and
Retouching?

I recently had a potential client contact me and ask whether
or not I ‘retouch’ all of the images that I deliver. When I asked her to
explain what she meant by retouching, her response was, “You know, touch them
up?

The terms ‘editing’ and ‘retouching’ are used quite often in
the photography world, but can mean wildly different things. Some photographers
even use them meaning the same thing, which can be very confusing to a couple
getting married unless the photographer is specific about what they mean or
unless you ask them to explain. So, in this post, I will explain what I mean by
‘editing’ and what I mean by ‘retouching’. After reading, you will have a
better understanding of what the terms can mean (as I said, it can vary from
photographer to photographer), so that you know what questions to ask so you
understand what you will receive.

Editing

I edit every photo that I send to a client. To be specific,
I correct for lighting/exposure and color temperature, crop the image if
necessary, as well as adding my own ‘signature’ touches to the images. Editing
a photo, as I use the term, can take as little as a few seconds or a few
minutes, depending on the desired effect. It may not seem like a lot of time,
but when spread out over 800 to 1000 photos, it means hours and hours of work. My
first step in the ‘editing’ process is to cull the photos. This means I go
through all of the pictures that were taken and determine which pictures will
be delivered. While the percentage of photos I keep has increased over my years
as a photographer, there are still the occasional shots that do not get
delivered – someone stepped in front of my camera, everyone has their eyes
closed, etc. etc. If your photographer is not culling your images for you as
part of editing then you will be left to sift through all of the pictures
yourself. If a photographer is not culling the images, it is probable that they
aren’t really editing them either because one of the main reasons for culling
images is so that you don’t waste time editing photos that will not be
delivered.

Basic Retouching

When simple editing won’t do the trick, retouching begins.
For me, basic retouching means up to 10 minutes of work on an image – removing
blemishes, brightening teeth, smoothing skin, or even removing an unsightly wire…

Extensive Retouching

Is when photographers usually only get a handful of images
upon request from a client like removing a person from an image, compositing
several images together, or completely changing the background of an image. I
charge an additional fee for this type of work because this type of retouching
can take several hours of work to make sure you don’t notice it has been
retouched.

In Conclusion

Every photographer’s definition of ‘editing’ and
‘retouching’ can mean different things. What is important is to be sure that
you understand what your photographer will be delivering to you and what they
mean. 

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