Category Archives: education

Pressing A Button Is Not Photography

I went to see Salvador in the cinema, in 1986 or 87.


If you haven’t seen it, it’s about photojournalists covering the civil war in Salvador. Highly recommend you watch it! Also, there’s a spoiler coming up, so if you’re going to see it, stop reading, now and return once you’ve seen the film!!

In the film, the main protagonist is a photojournalist played by James Woods. As he’s trying to leave El Salvador to get back to the States, he’s stopped at a check point and roughed up. He was trying to smuggle out films of the civil war and these ‘soldiers’ find the films and rip out the film from the cassette, ruining the pictures.

As this happens, I jumped out of my seat and screamed out ‘NO’! To say my friends were shocked (all non photographers) and the audience most concerned, would be an understatement. My eyes were filled with tears and my heart was pounding. I had been a hobbyist photographer for around two years and this was roughly two years before I started working as a photojournalist. Having dedicated every penny to buying film and every spare minute to reading about and looking at great photography, already brought a deep association with important, quality work.

As photographers, we have a very deep connection to our work. It’s part of us. Its not a job.

The Less Than Thoughtful Client

I had a client a year or two ago, really trying to low ball some work and massively over play the usage, well above the license agreed and paid for. The response during the ensuing discussions, was “its nothing personal, its just work”!

I’ve had clients, trying to con me into giving away copyright, accept very low pay for it, with the almost definite lies of more work in the future (Which never appears. A cheap or dishonest client never steps up and each time one of us accepts such a deal, it affects everyone else after us and for us, the client will never return. The entire industry takes another step towards ruin). Unprofessionalism and dishonesty, never right themselves. Every time we give in, we encourage and enforce this behaviour as being acceptable.

So the concept of a truly passionate, dedicated creative professional looking at their calling in life, be it photography, film making, music, poetry, writing and so on, being ‘just a job’, goes to show extreme ignorance in understanding what we do, how we think and how we are.

Long term partnerships nurture amazing work, which in turn makes the person booking the creative work look great and retain their client or job. Happy boss / client, happy middle person and happy creative.

The sad fact that more and more, only cutting corners seems to matter, even be a priority and quality of work is no longer an issue for these types of people, means that society’s appreciation of quality is diminishing. Quality and thought can be in a great advert. It can be an Instagram campaign. A Facebook sponsored post. A point of sale poster in a shop. The client pays, the middle person takes the biggest cut, the actual creative making the work, gets cheated.

A few years ago, I had a huge multi-national company trying to get me to work for free, as they felt paying for my vision, creativity, experience, time and skill, would pollute the purity of the work and this brand only wanted to work with truly passionate people who believe in the brand. My response to this person was in the form of a compliment; praising that they seemed extremely passionate and dedicated, so I was certain they must be working for free. Needless to say, this was met with astonished silence.

Just because someone can push a button and accepts being conned, does not make them a pianist, a writer or a photographer. No one who truly cares for their work, will disrespect their own creation and devalue it.

Some Advice For Young Photographers

If you’re new to the world of photography, my first piece of advice is to research and never agree to a fee or license on the spot. Most dishonest clients will try the line that they’re right up against the deadline etc. This is a pressurising technique. Promise of more work as there’s a low budget, is also a trick. When faced with such things, I always promise to do an amazing deal on the fifth booking. This type of client never comes back for a second booking, let alone a fifth, as they are purely out to take advantage.

As for rates and what to charge, there are various licensing calculators, like fotoQuote or the AOP’s online usage calculator. These are complied from prices paid, for similar work and an agreement between clients and photographers. These are industry standard rates. You can use these as a basis to either quote directly from, or to negotiate near to figures. If your skill and work is unique, you can negotiate upwards, for example. There are also several photographer’s groups online, where advice can be garnered before making an agreement.

Copyright. This is yours by law. Its not the client’s. If a client wants a buyout, this can be arranged and negotiated. Never give this away for free. Ever.

Value your work and that of the industry.

Instagram Tips

Instagram Tips For The Novice

I had an idea for this post several years ago, but kept putting it off as I constantly thought that users, especially new users, will soon catch on and this post would be redundant. Well, as I keep seeing the same major mistake over and over again, thought it best to write a helpful, short post.

Firstly, if you’re on Instagram purely to look at photographs and won’t be posting anything, or have no interest in building up a network with followers, friends, possible clients or colleagues, this post won’t apply. If you do want to build up a following and network, then please read on.

The major mistake many new users to Instagram make is not setting up their page properly first. Some rough text, a nickname, no real picture of themselves, no photos of their work and then they’ll set out to start following a load of people.

This first step, is a great opportunity to have some of these people follow you back, so before you follow a single person, please follow the list below.

1) Use your real name, in full.

2) Use a real photograph of yourself.

3) Use the biography area wisely, so it’s clear who you are and what you do.

4) Post around 6 photographs, before following anyone.

5) Put a link to your website, Flickr, blog or Twitter. This gives people the opportunity to get to know you a little better and will attract followers or clients, depending on your objectives.

6) Don’t set up as a private account, thinking later you’ll switch to open. As you follow people, they won’t follow you back if your account is private (unless you’re closely acquainted).

These simple steps will ensure that when you pop up as a new follower, it’s clear that your account is real and who you are. I’ve had people I personally know follow me and then comment on not getting a follow back. Well, with an online nickname, no real photograph of themselves, none of their work posted, it’s impossible to know who you are! These people, never get a follow back from me.

With each picture, write out a simple, accurate caption, explaining what’s happening in the shot and where it it. A few proper hashtags (#) and tags (@), will bring up your post when users are searching for these and the tags will allow brands whom you want to see your work, have a higher probability of seeing it. You should be wary of spelling anyway, but especially with tags and hashtags, otherwise you post will not show up when searched for.

As a safety measure, I always put a watermark on my work before publishing. I personally use either Lightroom Classic from my Mac, or Snapseed on my iPhone for this. This cuts down on honest misunderstandings if someone inadvertently tries to steal you work, but most importantly, gives you evidence of intent of theft, if the perpetrator of this theft, has then cloned out the watermark (which leaves traces).

If you’d like to check out my Instagram, you can find me as @terakopian

Cloud Backup-Free Month Offer

As we get into the new year, sadly with most of us in lock down, perhaps this is a good opportunity to start looking at your data backup strategy. It’s important to realise that you have to see it as a strategy.

My main image database resides on 5 hard drives, all of which are backed up to Backblaze. OWC ThunderBay 8 Thunderbolt 3, 8 Bay Storage Enclosure. My drives are in a JBOD configuration. August 28, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

As well as local backups and off-site backups, it’s crucial to have a Cloud backup. The more locations your data is in, the safer it will be. The number of times I’ve heard from desperate colleagues who have had a drive fail on them, with no backups and in that desperation are willing to lose in the high hundreds if not thousands of pounds, in the hope that a data specialist might be able to rescue some data, is dreadful. Invest a little, create a strategy and have peace of mind and security for your personal and professional work. Remember, family ‘snaps’ will become probably your most important and treasured archive as time passes, so treat both as equally important.

My main image database resides on 5 hard drives, all of which are backed up to Backblaze. OWC ThunderBay 8 Thunderbolt 3, 8 Bay Storage Enclosure. My drives are in a JBOD configuration. August 28, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

This offer may be of interest to anyone who hasn’t got Cloud backup yet or hasn’t tried Backblaze before. After much research, I chose them for my backup. One huge reason being that you can backup attached external drives (RAID boxes etc) too. Have a read through their website for more info on all their system does.

I use Backblaze to backup my computer and close to a million photographs, with almost 24Tb backed up on their servers.

Use my Backblaze referral link and get a free month of unlimited backup:

https://secure.backblaze.com/r/02sdhe

Feel free to share this post, or this link, so your friends and colleagues will benefit as well. In return, I will get a month added onto my membership too, so thank you.

The Photography Show 2020

Wonderful to see the UK’s biggest show on photography persevere through having to be cancelled earlier this year due to the pandemic and return in this COVID 19 friendly, virtual form.

https://www.photographyshow.com/welcome

The Photography Show will be on this coming Sunday and Monday, September 20th and 21st. So, get some of your favourite snacks and drinks in stock, plump up the cushions on your favourite chair, fire up your computer or smart device and settle in to all things photographic.

Registration is free, so visit The Photography Show and register. There are a host of talks by some very talented friends and colleagues, as well as talks by the various camera and other equipment manufacturers.

21-Sep-2020 16:45– 17:15. Shooting an international campaign

I’m delighted to be presenting on one of the Main Stages this year. My presentation will be on “Shooting an international campaign“, on the Connect stage. I was thrilled to have been commissioned by Panasonic Lumix Japan to shoot the international launch campaign for the yet unannounced Lumix S Pro 24-70mm f2.8 lens. During my talk I’ll be sharing various aspects of how I prepared for and worked on the campaign, sharing my images as well as a behind the scenes video of me shooting one aspect of the project. I’m most thankful that Lumix UK have supported my presentations and will be hosting a live Q&A shortly afterwards.

A full list of Lumix related talks and sessions can be seen on the Lumix Experience website. You will also find a link to the Microsoft Meetings for my Q&A session.

21-Sep-2020 12:20– 12:50. Eyewitness: A global movement to preserve memory through the printed image

https://www.eye-witness.org

I’ll also be one of the photographers from the Eyewitness collective who will be part of a panel talk about the importance of having prints and why we’ve joined together as a global collective of concerned photographers, sharing our thoughts about the physical manifestation of the image and why we feel it’s crucial for us as individuals, as a society and also us as photographers; professional and enthusiast.

Photography Rules

Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers

Photography Rules, Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers
is a new book by Dr Paul Lowe. To say that I’m delighted to be part of this amazing book would be putting it extremely mildly! I’m humbled to be in such great company and touched by Paul’s kind invitation to be part of this wonderful project. Sharing pages with one’s own inspirations and heroes in photography is quite literally, awesome.

Photography Rules; Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers. A book on photography by Paul Lowe, featuring the work and advice by 177 photographers, including Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Brassaï, Eve Arnold, Elliott Erwitt, Annie Leibovitz, David Hockney, Don McCullin, Nadar, Irving Penn, Chris Steele-Perkins, Sebastião Salgado, W. Eugene Smith, Garry Winogrand and Edmond Terakopian. London, UK. August 05, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

As photographers, we all consciously or more often, sub-counciously form our own philosophies and rules. Be these ethical, compositional, a work ethic or technical. Ways of approaching life, interacting with people, the technical aspects of photography or camera techniques that serve us well.

This fascinating insight from some of the most amazing photographers, stretching back to greats like Ansel Adams or Richard Avedon, Brassai to Bresson, is not only interesting but thought provoking, enlightening and inspirational.

As Paul Lowe writes, “The book is not a systematic ‘how to’ guide to photography but it does have a reasonably logical progression of entries, organised into three main categories of rules: ‘Making Photographs’, ‘Being a Photographer’ and ‘Professional Practice’. These follow the journey of the photographic process from even before the image is made through to building a long- term corpus of work to its distribution to the world. Individual genres and approaches to photography are interspersed throughout, covering fields such as portraiture, documentary and photojournalism, landscape and commercial photography.”

This book is going to appeal to an extremely wide range of photographers; seasoned professionals to those who are at the start of their journey in photography. Not only do I see this as becoming essential reading for every student in photography, but also for photography enthusiasts and amateur photographers who want to get an insight into the thought process of the authors behind some of the images they admire.

My own contribution, is about my personal approach to photojournalism, the ethics I live by and is listed in the ‘Being a Photographer’ section of the book. The beginning of the text reads, “The award-winning photojournalist Edmond Terakopian reminds us that, when documenting other people’s lives, especially in situations of distress, ‘it’s not your story, it belongs to your subject. You must never forget that.’”

Photography Rules; Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers. A book on photography by Paul Lowe, featuring the work and advice by 177 photographers, including Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Brassaï, Eve Arnold, Elliott Erwitt, Annie Leibovitz, David Hockney, Don McCullin, Nadar, Irving Penn, Chris Steele-Perkins, Sebastião Salgado, W. Eugene Smith, Garry Winogrand and Edmond Terakopian. London, UK. August 05, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

It accompanies my photograph documenting life, 10 years on from the devastating earthquake that struck Armenia. “A Woman Prays in an Armenian Church in Gyumri, for the Souls of Those Who Died in the Armenian Earthquake, 1988.”

Edmond Terakopian. London, UK.

The photograph from Gyumri was shot on a Leica M6 with a Leica 35mm Summicron, using Kodak Ektachrome slide film.

Photography Rules, Essential Dos and Don’ts from Great Photographers is out now and alongside good bookshops, is also available online from Amazon.

Biography: Dr. Paul Lowe is a Reader in Documentary Photography and the Course Leader of the Masters programme in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK. Paul is an award-winning photographer, whose work is represented by VII Photos, and who has been published in Time, Newsweek, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer and The Independent amongst others. He has covered breaking news the world over, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela’s release, famine in Africa, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the destruction of Grozny.

Interviewed On “The As Yet Unnamed Podcast”

Thoroughly enjoyable chat with Ian Barstow on the “The As Yet Unnamed Podcast“, which went live earlier today.

We spoke about life, politics, newspapers, my career and the many aspects of photography. I even shared my journey in cameras; Nikon, Canon, Leica, Olympus and Panasonic Lumix. Something for everyone!

Hope you get a chance to listen (above) or even watch our chat.

The As Yet Unnamed Podcast – Edmond Terakopian