FAQ

What kinds of photography do you do?

Diamant Studios specialises in architectural and commercial (corporate images and portraits/headshots, product/still life/food) photography.

 

Do you do any other kinds of photography?

Hardly. While some may pursue a generalist approach, we believe that the attainment of excelence demands specialisation. Photography is a variegated field, the many areas each of which involve different tools and sets of skills. For instance, the creation of architectural images requires perspective-correction lenses and leveling devices, whereas event photography calls for fast lenses and quick auto focusing instead.

 

Will you shoot my wedding?

No.

 

How much do you charge per hour?

Diamant Studios does not  charge based on time: there is NO hourly rate. Hourly rates are bad business for both the client and the photographer, as they generally lead to misconceptions, misinterpretations and overall dissatisfaction.

Instead, we charge based on Creative Fees.

The pricing model is actually quite simple:

Creative Fee + Expenses + Image Rights + Extras = Final Cost

 

What is that ‘Low-cost’ classification you mention in your Policies page?

‘Low-cost’ is defined as: for project-based photography, any fee that is less than $395.00; and for portraiture, any fee that is less than the current fees on the posted pricing schedule

Low-cost fees are not eligible for promotional pricing, such as the Member-to-Member Discount offered to fellow members of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce.

 

Would the shoot be done on location or in the studio?

All architectural shoots are done on location, as is most reproduction work. Commercial, portraiture and product shoots can be done either on location or in the studio: it all depends on what the client feels more comfortable with and/or the technical requirements for the particular assignment.

 

What happens before, during, and after the shoot?

All projects comprise four major stages: Consultation, Preparation, Actual Shoot and Post-processing.

The Consultation is the initial meeting with the client to determine what he needs/wants. Image usage, design and aesthetics, equipment required, times and other minutiae, are discussed and agreed upon. After the consultation the client receives the price quote.

The Preparation phase involves scouting out the location, and securing permissions and permits if needed (for architectural shoots); studying the subjects to determine the best way to portay them (for product and macro photography); looking for and hiring models; and, in essence, taking note of whatever is required to make the shoot go smoothly and obtain pleasing results.

The Actual Shoot involves precisely that. Client participation might or might not be necessary, although the presence of the client or a representative of his is required to sign off on the final photographs.

Finally, once the photographs have been made, the rest of the work is done in the studio –optimising files, correcting colour imbalances and retouching when necessary, etc. This Post-processing stage is the longest of the four. At the end of this phase, the client is provided with soft proofs (usually in the form of web galleries), and upon his approval we deliver the high-resolution version of the files, normally within a week of the shoot.

 

Do you carry insurance?

Yes. Insurance certificates can be provided on request. Please mention that you need one at the time of asking for your quote.

 

What are the copyright/licence terms?

Generally, copyright is retained by the the licensor (the photographer), with limited usage for the licensee (the client). Specific provisions can be made for usage by third parties.

Rights is an issue that we prefer to discuss with the client, as every client and situation is different.

 

What do you mean by ‘limited usage’?

It means that there are some reasonable restrictions put on the usage of the images. Chiefly: the client cannot resell them, nor can he alter them to the point that they almost become different images. Cropping and resizing to match output is considered fair use, however.

 

Hmm, but, isn’t the picture mine? Didn’t I purchase it? Can’t I do whatever I want with it?

No. What you purchased was a licence to use the picture for a certain purpose and for a given amount of time, and/or a print. A photograph is intellectual property: it’s not really a tangible good. The price of the licence is directly proportional to the rights given.

The only way in which a photograph can be yours is if the photographer issues you a signed document transferring the copyright to you: then you own the image and can licence it, give it away, or do with it whatever you want. Considering that the photographer will no longer be able to use said image, photographers hardly ever surrender or transfer the copyright of their pictures.

And no, you cannot do ‘whatever you want’ with the image(s): only what the licensor agrees to based on the negotiated fee.

 

OK, so, in a nutshell, what can I do with the pictures I get, and what can I not do?

Please see the question below anent Types of Licences .

 

Since you mention that you own the pictures, will you use them for yourself as well, and how?

The photographer mainly uses the images he makes for his own portfolio, to promote and advance his business. Some of the photographs might also be sold as stock images.

Now, stock photography carries its own rubric. For example, images sporting business logos or recognisable people who have not signed model releases cannot be used for stock. Given the custom nature of most assignments, very few images produced during a shoot are suitable for stock. Usually, the production of stock images requires an ad hoc shoot in itself.

Additionally, the photographer may also use the images for educational or editorial purposes.

 

What are the types of licences and their scope?

In general, they are as follows:

Royalty Free
Rights Managed
Rights Managed - Non Exclusive
Rights Managed - Exclusive
FeesClient pays a one-off fee.Client pays a fee each time the image is used. Alternatively, a one-off fee is possible.
UsageClient can use the image multiple times and in multiple projects within the scope of the licence.Client must specify the intended use, media, territory and duration for each usage.
PricingPrice is determined by the type of image, its complexity, and/or the time it took to create it.The price is determined by the intended use.The price is higher (~20-30% more) to guarantee an exclusive licence.
ExclusivityRoyalty Free images are never exclusive. Other clients can purchase the same image and use it as they wish within the scope of their licences.Other clients can purchase and use the image.Nobody else (in some cases, not even the photographer himself) can purchase or use the image. (Explains the higher cost of this type of licence.)

 

How do you determine your prices?

In essence, the photographer determines his feeNote the use of the word fee instead of rate based on three components:

Creative Fee
This component reflects the time and skill it takes to complete the assignment. Variables include the total number of shots, poses, angles or views; scheduling and deadlines; site logistics and artistic considerations such as unique angles or vantage points or special times of day. There are also intangible variables such as the experience, creativity and vision that the photographer brings to the assignment. In addition to the time spent behind the camera, the photographer factors the pre-production and post-production time in the creative fee.
Pre-production tasks may include client meetings, location scouting, meetings with the site’s management to organise access, technical coordination and other site preparation tasks. Post-production tasks usually include image editing and selection (which may involve more client meetings), digital processing (colour correction, minor retouching, compositing), and preparing master files for final delivery. It is not unusual for the post-production work to consume as much time as the photography.

Licence Fee
This component (sometimes called the usage fee) reflects the value of the authorised uses for the images. The value is determined by a number of considerations, including how widely and for how long the images will be viewed, reproduced and distributed. Typically, the more extensive the use, the higher the fee will be.

Expenses
If the job will require travel, specialised equipment, prop rentals, specific insurances, or fees for location access, these will all be factored in here. Likewise, the anticipated cost of hiring photo assistants, stylist and models will be part of the total. There may be some contingent costs, such as for weather delays.

Extras
Anything not covered under the above categories. It happens.

These considerations shew why Diamant Studios does not  charge based on time: (NO hourly rate, as explained above).

Stock photography follows a different licensing scheme and its prices are not determined by Diamant Studios, but by the industry (i.e. the stock agency).

 

Too many of these things are so mind-boggling that one thinks: with digital cameras so ubiquitous now, why do I need a professional photographer at all?

A camera does not a photographer make. Like any other machine, a camera is just a tool. Having one and knowing how to use it are completely different things. Yes, most of us have heard the hype and seen the ads from camera manufacturers claiming that having their latest models will make one a better photographer. Nonsense. In order to be a photographer one requires, first and foremost, the God-given talent of image making; then there’s still the investment in time, effort and resources to learn and develop the theoretical foundation and the skills required to exercise that talent.

Photography –good photography at least– encompasses the main areas of composition, exposure and lighting. A professional photographer knows how to combine these three to create images that reveal the nature and characteristics of a subject; something that cannot be accomplished by merely pointing the camera and releasing its shutter.

It is an indisputable fact that images are crucial for purchasing decisions; this is even truer in the Age of the Internet, when most buyers lack the tactile experience when evaluating a product or location, and so, have to rely on their visuals to make informed decisions on whether to buy a product, order a dish, or jump in the car to go see a house on sale. All this makes it imperative for a photograph to contain all the information that a potential buyer shall need to evaluate what is being offered: colour, size, shape, texture, et cetera.

Professional photographs are essential in providing your clients accurate and inviting depictions of the goods or services that you offer.

Yes, we are aware that even cellular telephones have cameras nowadays, and that pretty much anyone can slap a product against a white wall and take a snapshot of it (don’t try this shotgun approach, please; for starters, the white wall will most likely come out grey; second, your product will be underexposed and have a dreadful reflection where the on-camera flash hit it point-blank). The question here is not how much money you will save by doing it in-house; the real question is: how much money will you lose  due to bad pictures?

There is also the matter of resolution and colour…

And lighting…

 

What about resolution and why does it matter?

Resolution, or the number of pixels per inch, comes into play when preparing images for publication, either online or in print. While for web use, where images might not be ever viewed larger than 5×7 inches, one might get away with low resolution images (say 1024 pixels in the long edge and 72 pixels per inch), an image that is to be printed on a full-page ad on a magazine or even on a letter-sized brochure will require as many megapixels as the capture medium can provide (at least 12 MP). This is the reason why magazines by default reject images taken with point-and-shoot cameras and cell phone cameras: they are simply not suitable for printing (see comparison below).

Thinking of having your image on a billboard? Forget about consumer cameras! Even the pro-grade DSLRs professional photographers use come short for such a task. For billboard advertising, images need to be taken with expensive medium-format cameras, which pack 40MP (7264×5440 pixels per inch) and more. Needless to say, this kind of photography is not cheap.

Full image.

Fruit basket. Full image: resized for Web use, but output in high-quality.

 

Fruit basket detail. Cropped, but retaining full quality. This image is fit for printing.

Fruit basket detail. Cropped, but retaining full quality. This image is fit for printing.

 

Fruit basket detail. The way a non-professional camera would render the image. This is useless for printing. Even on the Web, the pixelisation makes it look unappealing.

Fruit basket detail (low resolution). The way a non-professional camera would render the image. This is useless for printing. Even on the Web, the pixelisation makes it look unappealing.

 

Makes sense, but you also mentioned something about colour…

Colour in this instance is mostly about the white balance. Without going into technicalities, the White Balance determines the accuracy of the colours in the image.

It all has to do with the way cameras record and output images. Consumer cameras are usually auto-everything and take control of the recording process, rendering images in a way that makes sense to their firmware, which is ofttimes not the way one would like the image to be rendered, and in some cases does not even depict what the eye actually sees. In addition, consumer cameras, on the main, generate JPEG files which are ‘final files’, i.e. not meant to be edited, as they lose quality every time they’re saved. Furthermore, when the camera creates the JPEG file, it throws away data that its shooting mode and software deems unnecessary, in order to create the smallest file possible. Professional cameras, on the other hand, generate RAW files (think of these as digital negatives) which contain essentially everything there was about the image: nothing is thrown away, and thus, these files can be manipulated (‘developed’) on the computer to generate a final image of the utmost quality both in terms of resolution and colour rendition. Colours can be adjusted in post-processing to remain faithful to the real colours of the subject and/or the lighting conditions under which the image was made. This is what happens in the Post-processing Phase described above.

See the following comparison:

Fruit basket. Recorded in RAW and adjusted in post-processing so that it renders the true colours of the different fruits.

Fruit basket revisited. The image was recorded in RAW and then adjusted in post-processing so that it renders the true colours of the different fruits.

 

Fruit basket re-revisited. What happens when the camera is allowed to make the rendering decisions: the colours are completely off.

Fruit basket re-revisited. What happens when the camera is allowed to make the rendering decisions: the colours are completely off; note the blue cast on what is actually a white background, and the violet tint in the pineapple.

 

Mmmkay, and what about lighting? My camera has a flash…

…Whose purpose seems to be to uglify a subject rather than to illuminate it.

 

……… [sigh]

No, that was not a facetious statement, as the pictures below illustrate.

A mundane object. A even more mundane shot: thank you, on-camera flash!

A mundane object. An even more mundane shot: thank you, on-camera flash! (The wall and the surface the measuring tape was resting on weren’t grey, but white, by the way.) This kind of picture might be suitable for selling used stuff on eBay, but if you are the manufacturer… well, let’s just say you shouldn’t expect people to buy your product.

 

A mundane object. A beauty shot: thank you, off-camera flash!

A mundane object. A beauty shot: thank you, off-camera flash! The lighting is not just for show: it informs the viewer about the physical features of the product. The rim light, for example, shews the texture of the plastic, letting the viewer know about its non-slip characteristics.

 

Point taken. How did you do that, by the way? (You must have a great camera…)

The camera does not matter much here —yes, it is a pro-grade model, but the camera is not the star of this shot: the flashes are. The picture below shews the whole lighting setup. Four lights in total, at different power levels and with different modifiers on them: none of which are on the camera!

Hardly mundane: the lighting setup.

Hardly mundane: the lighting setup.

 

Now, whilst the camera ‘doesn’t matter much here’, it still has to have certain features, such as the ability to accept radio controllers to remotely fire the lights.

Needless to say, this kind of photography is just not doable without the right equipment, time, effort, and vision.

 

I have a question that is not covered in this FAQ…

Then contact us presently!