I consider all of my work art, and everything that I sell is copyrighted. I am a member of several national, professional organizations not because "it looks good," but because I continually strive to better my skills and attain greater photographic visions. I am a Certified Professional Photographer, having passed both the written exam and a review of my professional portfolio. I received the Master Photographer degree in January 2016 from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and I have already begun work on my Master Craftsman degree. I am a NIKON Pro, as well as an Adobe Customer Adviser. I was elevated to the status of "Popular Photographer" and one of 13 "Influential Photographers" by the Berlin-based, Picsastock, one of two international stock image companies with which I sell my stock images. I believe strongly in giving back to the community and have been a Silver Member of the Professional Photographers of Association (PPA) Charities Studio in 2014 and 2015 for my annual donations through my studio. Additionally, I hold at least one fundraiser a year through my studio: This year, I raised more than $500 for the Sheriff Bob McCabe Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia. I teach, I mentor, I compete in international competitions. I represented the United States as one of 18 photographers in World Cup competition in 2014 and again in 2016. I received third place in the 2016 Grand Imaging Awards in Weddings. I am continually traveling the country to train under masters of specialties that I am not a master of, and to further broaden my skills. My photographs have been published nationally and internationally hundreds (probably thousands) of times over the past decade alone.
Everything. Because I give all of this experience, knowledge, and skill to my clients in every session that I shoot, edit and process. I am not an awarded photographer dripping with accolades who turns around and mass produces his or her client's work. I am not the elite photographer who or puts his or her name on a piece and actually has someone else behind the scenes doing the finishing work. I give the same attention, detail and creativity to a client's session and editing as I would if I were planning my next loan collection piece. In fact, if I don't come up with one great creative idea or concept in a session, I am disappointed. I don't like to be disappointed. My clients do not receive a set of images that are "just" sharp and well lit; these images are beyond simply technically correct. These are not snapshots meant to be plopped into a scrapbook with stickers or given a filter on Instagram. My clients' images are something special because I feel they have come to me for something incredible and they deserve the very best I can give them.
Beautiful, storytelling images are meant to be displayed on wrapped gallery canvases, aluminum metal standouts, backlit acrylic wall hangings, 3-D wood pieces, brushed metal murals, or amazingly brilliant mounted photographs in Kodak professional papers, Ilford true Black and White, or Hahnemuehle Fine Art paper. Or, for collections of images, a finely crafted, Italian-made, printed photographic album.
I am a perfectionist when it comes to reproducing my art. The color gamut I use cannot be reproduced correctly by average printers, such as Costco, Walmart, and Snapfish, much less a home printer. The images I send to my hand-selected, professional printers have been color corrected during processing, my monitor is color calibrated before every editing session so I am seeing true and correct colors, and then as a final step during my output process, I specifically color proof each image for the specific printer's paper profile I will be using. I have a personal rep at each printer with whom I work to ensure that colors are perfect so that if I'm not happy, which happens rarely, we can solve the problem quickly.
Once an image gets "loose" on the Internet without any EXIF data (Facebook strips all copyright embedded data from images-did you know all my images have my copyright information embedded in the actual image?). Even large, protective watermarks can be removed, and quite frankly, some people don't think twice about stripping the watermark or signature or cropping the image so the image can be used anywhere, by anyone. This is alarming for artists, of course, but what could be perhaps more alarming is for the very clients who want images to post on the Internet, and then discover that these same images are being used to create phony FB profiles, portraits for dating websites, Tinder photos... well, you get the picture. And for my clients with children: what any parent might see as just an innocent, sweet image of their child that they want to share, may also be seen differently--and perversely--by someone else.
Once an image is on the Internet, your privacy is gone. Once an unwatermarked image is on the Internet, control of the image is gone. Once control is gone, it is virtually impossible to regain.