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Messages - Chuck Alaimo

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uggg...maybe i should not reply to things when i haven't read all 11 pages...uggg...11 pages....I want to sue all of you now!.....

Here is a slight twist on the question. Many of you have weighed in on what the OP should do in response to his question.

If you are a pro, and someone who tagged along with you on a shot to learn from you actually approached you afterwards with the OPs dilemma, but in this case, he deferred to your decision. What would you do or tell your apprentice?

Just curious.

I would have downloaded all his files initially, before we parted the day of the wedding, most of the time seconds use my cards to negate issues like this.

However, if he came to me in this situation as it is, I'd give him credit for it, if the bride hated my images and liked his, I'd sell her his (as part of my contract to her) and pay him enough to make him happy (for saving my butt), but also make quite clear that what he did was wrong and why it was wrong, but I'd also encourage him to second again, I have had the best luck with second shooters that take different types of images to me and the two obviously covered the bases.

exactly!  That is part of this too...is the OP's conversation with the bride sidelining the primary shooter at this point? 

Here's one for ya too...how did the bride find him?  I mean, did the OP post a shot to facebook and tag the bride?  Or did he talk to the groom and hand out his personal card?  did he talk to guests? 

First of all I'm a portrait photographer and I've got experience, I know what's composition and all the sweet things that we care about. Second I didn't sign any contract with him and he told me that I could post the photos on my website. I went there to understand how weddings work and I wasn't hired as an assistant (but he told me you are coming as an assistant).
During the wedding the bride was a bit annoyed about the posing shots that he was trying to create and she was asking for more candid shots. I'm not saying I'm better than the pro and I will never say that, I don't even want to undermine him. I sent him about 40 photos the day after the wedding and he called me up telling me that he was impressed for my first wedding experience. At the end of this I just would like to be rewarded for this little success because I'm not making a living out of it.
By the way I don't like the way the pros use their assistants, people who make a living out of it should pay for their help. It is just fair. Sometimes when I have to do paid jobs I ask a friend to come along and I give him/her some money even if it's a $200 job.

ok, I'll bite on this one too.  Ok, you were not hired and did not sign a contract - fine, but, as you stated - he saw you as his assistant.  He did not have to allow you on the site, and given the situation, it doesn't sound like the client added the second shooter either so there was zero compensation for you.  The main shooter was being nice, letting you come along to learn and build a portfolio - not to undermine sales.

The Primary shooter is at fault here too because he should have been more clear ( though it does sound like he tried to be, "Second I didn't sign any contract with him and he told me that I could post the photos on my website." 

That's your compensation right there.  It's the good old adage, give a man a fish and he eats well that night - teach that man to fish and he eats well for a lifetime.  You seem to be blinded by the sentiments of this bride, and want that one nice meal at the expense of the future.  These images should be like a downpayment - the first for your portfolio. 

Mind you ---- Brides are finicky beasts!!!!!  So this one loves your work, what about the next, and the next, and the next?  If you have a next!  One wedding is not enough to book a season, especially one where you were a second shooter.  this bride liked candids - good - that's fine and yeah, that's one of the reasons why you were there, to handle that side of shooting so the main shooter can focus on posing and managing the clock!  Some Brides don't give a rats ass about candids though.  some don't even care about the images at all.  so, keep that in mind, and --- if you at all believe in karma, well then I hope you remember this day when you have an assistant taking your sales! 

As to "By the way I don't like the way the pros use their assistants, people who make a living out of it should pay for their help. It is just fair. Sometimes when I have to do paid jobs I ask a friend to come along and I give him/her some money even if it's a $200 job."  If he did things you don't like, well that's the way the cookie crumbles.  Learn from that and don't treat your seconds and assistants in the same way.  But also, the going rate here for second shooting is closer to $100-500 depending on all the factors.  Which, isn't bad at all when you think about it.  I generally pay out $250 - which for 8 hours or so is like $31 an hour.  that's not bad at all.  If your allowed to use the images on your portfolio, yeah you may spend time on them but that's your time, your investment.  $31 an hour to be there for 8 hours and snap 1000 or so photos...LOL...I like second shooting now because I have no intention of outdoing the main shooter.  Or rather, not on that shoot!  I will do my part, but, I will save the outdoing for my own weddings!....

Either way man, let your ego go.  Call the primary guy and talk to him.

Surely the contract is with the original pro photographer, his price would have included the shoot as well as providing a specific number of images with any additional photographs charged for separately. I would find it hard to believe there are no images that the bride would not find acceptable.
The bride should pay the original photographer for the contracted work, providing of course they are not sub standard.  There would be no obligation for the bride to buy any additional images from the pro photographer leaving the guest photographer to supply photos to the bride at whatever cost is agreed.
Remember you asked for a favour and got invited to assist the pro at the wedding, he thought he was helping you. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

I mostly agree. However, if the guest photographer's images had been presented along with the main shooting pro's images, the bride might have chosen some of each shooters images and been satisfied with the amount of images included in the package (in the scenario described above). In that case, perhaps she wouldn't need to spend more money.

I'm not a wedding photographer. I shoot live theater and headshots. When I shoot a show for a theater, occasionally someone from the production's creative team will be shooting behind me...usually the set designer. Would it hurt me if the theater chose some of the set designer's images? Not particularly, because he's part of the team. He just needs to stay out of my way. I'm hired to make sure they get the specific images they need that are then published in the newspapers and websites that review these shows. These images are given to the press when the shows are reviewed. However, I can't imagine a scenario when I would invite someone that I don't really know to shoot along side without having some advanced agreement regarding the other shooters images.

I've been asked a few times by friends and family to shoot their weddings. They've seen my work and think I'm a great photographer. But I've never accepted. I wouldn't want to let them down. Wedding photography, to me, requires specific experience and anticipation for the event that I don't have. I couldn't expect to do a great job without getting experience first. Similarly, it wouldn't be easy shooting live theater for the first time. Shooting a musical is like shooting basketball but with constantly changing lighting.

I guess I'm saying that the OP should be grateful for the experience that the pro allowed him to receive. I don't know what was communicated between them before the wedding, but you'd think they would've had to discuss a plan just to stay out each other's way.

Another thought that came to mind...according to the OP the bride liked his images better. Does a wedding photographer show the bride all of the images prior to post processing then only process the images chosen? If so, could this be a reason the bride likes the 2nd shooter's images better? Maybe his were already processed. I can shoot 2000 images during a musical. Most theaters get jpegs right out of my camera that night. They'll make their choices for press the next morning and I'll PP the images they choose, but I'm not going to process 2000 images knowing that they will only choose 30.

If the OP is as good as he indicates, then he should be able to book some paid gigs in the not too distant future. He now has images for a portfolio that will enable him to market his work. The revenue for one job will far surpass the couple hundred bucks he might get for the 30 images this bride likes. If he takes the money and snubs the photographer that gave him the opportunity to learn, his reputation might prevent him from getting that job. Will it have been worth it?

The dangerous part of this is the play on ego ---- "liked' may not be as honest as you think.  The bride may not actually like your shots better, she may just like your price better.  it's the play on ego that raises the eyebrow...oh, they liked my work, wow, I'm better than the primary.... I deserve to be paid.  All the while, the bride is using you as a bargaining chip against the primary photog to get him to lower his prices on something. So you may be riding a high of thinking wow  - I'm awesome as the bride is just trying to save a buck and dragging your name through the mud to get it...it's a harsh way to look at it and may not be the case, but it could be...again...make the mistake of caution, talk to the main shooter.

A few things here that should be pointed out.

I basically agree with what's been said here, the OP should be asking the main photog about this.

As to the ethics though - there is no hard and fast rule for this.  I've second shot for a lot of people and each primary shooter has his/her own set of rules.  Some give you memory cards to shoot on, you hand them over at the end of the night and never see them again.  Other's allow usage - the second can use images for their own portfolio but no contact is to be made between the second and the client.  Other's allow for the second to share their work wit the client, but only after the primary shooter has shared the the full gallery.

A key thing to point out here too --- I've second shot for close to 20 photographers and have only been asked to sign a contract 3 times - so the question of ethics here IS very important because most of this is based on the honor system.  As many have said, this could be a quick buck for you now, but, good luck breaking into the industry when no primary shooters will take you on - and - one wedding is not enough to get you out there on your own without working with others. 

So I'd really rethink this and err on the side of caution, talk to the main photographer.   

another reason why - you don't know whats going on between the primary and the client.  You may be thinking wow, $500, but the client may be trying to get out of spending $3000 on an album by buying images from you...  You may be undermining the main photog!

Most established primary shooter though  have a certain mindset with this that YOU have to keep in mind.  You are brought in by them to work for them.  Your work benefits them.  Promoting your own business is not allowed.  I mean hell, I did not hire you to come in to promote yourself.  Not everyone is that strict but many are


Have any of you...anyone on Canon Rumors' forum...seen an unbiased test of the D4s, or better yet, a comparison of it and the 1DX?

I have 2 friends locally who just snagged the D4s.  No, this isn't a comparison of the 1dx, more just about the d4s.  Ok, one of the guys was upgrading from the D3 so he is absolutely in love with it.  the other upgraded from a D4, and he likes it but isn't blown away by it (this guy has serious GAS though, he bought a d800, didn't like it, sold it for the d4, then sold the d4 for the d4s --- while all the while and still even saying he may buy a 5d3....lol)

So take that as you want ...again, not a comparison to the 1dx at all (I only personally know 1 shooter with a 1dx, he's one of the older more established guys in town).  so there just aren't any out there to do the full comparison and I'm not renting one just to compare...!!!!)

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon's Medium Format
« on: March 28, 2014, 05:18:15 PM »
I'll bite on this...

I think you make some very valid points.

Of course, only time will tell. But I have a hard time imagining that even with the presumed cost reductions in sensors (which folks more knowledgeable than I am have said are unlikely to be significant in the foreseeable future), that Medium Format will overcome the other limitations you reference, particularly because some of the limits result from the basic physics of the size.

I'm also not quite so anxious to presume the death of APS-C. I think it is always risky to bet against "good enough" in favor of "better." There are junkyards full of products that were better that lost out to good enough.

It's hard to look at the current quality of APS-C sensors, the relative sales and the 100-year plus march towards ever smaller and more efficient electronics and believe that the long-term trend will be towards larger, rather than smaller.

I think we may be better able to see the future of the crop format when the 7DII finally surfaces.

Looking at the medium format market today, it takes quite a leap of faith to think it will break out of the narrow niche that it lives in currently.

Still, I think your observations are valid and I certainly appreciate the way you have articulated them in a fair and unemotional manner.

Good job.

Oddly enough, i think that the transition is more likely because of the very advancements you speak of.  sensors smaller than APS-C are getting better and better, as are the optics in cell phone cameras.  So APS-C is going to have to get a whole lot better, or, be phased out ---this is within a decade mind you.  I'm not one of the physics masters here, but how much more can the APS-C be pushed?

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon's Medium Format
« on: March 28, 2014, 03:28:09 PM »
I'll bite on this...

MF is only a niche market now because of the cost and design.  Most reputable systems cost well over 10K, and, they are much bigger than an slr and the range of use is fairly limited.  If your shooting MF now your either in the upper 5% of photographers, and your working mostly in a studio, or on location with a team of assistants and a lot of lights.  Or your shooting epic landscapes (but come on now, how many landscape photogs are making 300K+ a year, not many.  Most using MF are working with large scale ad agencies.

Limited function - most MF rigs max their ISO at like 1600, and I have never read anything from a MF shooter that promotes using an ISO over 400.  I don't think there is an MF rig that has a burst mode.  You aren't busting out the MF body to shoot a wedding reception.  Your not busting out the MF to go shoot live music.  Your not busting out the MF rig to shoot sports.  Wedding, Event, portrait, and art shooters fill out that remaining 95% of pro photogs. 

Last I checked the average yearly salary for a working photographer in the US is $29,000 a year (of course this is an average).  MF is way out of the range for any of us at or near that average. 

MF will continue to be a niche product as long as both the cost and design of MF is what it is.  Now with that said, I'd think that canon/nikon/sony would differentiate from the current MF offerings - which may mean compromises - less IQ than current MF but better AF, burst modes and increased ISO also offered a a substantially lower cost.  Again, there are only so many working photogs that can afford even making the leap into something like a 1dx.  So even if it's priced at 1dx levels there will still be many who say no because the investment doesn't make sense financially   

From a wedding photographers perspective - a MF rig would probably only be seeing use for the formal portraits of the bride and groom (or,yes, the first dance but you're only if your in the upper crust where you have more advanced lighting and multiple assistants with monopods so you can keep that ISO low).  And you better be selling Large prints - or catering to a clientele that either would notice the difference or shooting for the extremely rich.   Mind you, even if sony/nikon/canon did enter the MF market and offered cheaper ---let's say 6K - that's just the body!  Lenses will be costly.  this narrows the potential market down a lot when you consider that many of us would have to devote a a good portion of your yearly salary to the investment! 

As I see it, those are the bottlenecks to MF becoming more than a niche.  It's just too costly to be a reality for the bulk of the market. 

In 10 years though....  Yeah, I can see the future phasing out APS-C in all DSL bodies, all FF.  By that point the cost to make FF sensors will have been streamlined to a point to make that happen - and if that research is added to MF sensors, you could see a cost reduction and I could see some amazing things happening...

But ---- there is one other factor that adds or subtracts time from any of the above - the global economy needs to turn around.  More costly systems can't fly when disposable income is low.  Less on hand money for the average person means less purchases of things like...photography.  People aren't buying all over the place so it's a ripple effect.  If the economy turns around then I think we'll see another boom in tech offerings.  Without that companies are bound to be more pragmatic.   

PowerShot / Re: Canon to Leave the Entry Level Point & Shoot Market?
« on: March 19, 2014, 10:23:13 AM »
I'm looking at my 2 PowerShot cameras - an old A720 and an A2200.  While all the specs would be/should be better on the A2200, the A720 has a superior lens package.  The A2200 blows it away otherwise.

A720 8mpix
5.8-34.8mm f/2.8-4.8  MACRO capable focus is 1mm or closer!

A2200 14 mpix
5.0-20.0mm f/2.8-5.9

Maybe if Canon had put more effort into lens technology in these low end cameras they would take better pictures than a cell phone?  I guess the point is moot now.  :-\
There are plenty of P&S cameras that take far superior images than any cellphone ... but the majority of the people only want a convenient device that does it all, including taking photos, so if the better lens technology is not in the the cellphone camera, than it means nothing to them.

Yup, canon would be better suited partnering with one of the cell companies and making components for cell phones - lenses, or processors, or image sensors than fighting an un-winnable fight to get more cell users onto P&S cameras. 

EOS Bodies / Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« on: March 16, 2014, 02:02:41 PM »
Whoa! I should have looked at the court filing first. They are listing less than $50,000 in assets. I'm guessing there are individuals on this forum (not me) that have more than that in Canon equipment.

I don't know how this works in the camera retail business. Is it customary for a supplier to retain ownership of the stock until it is sold?

Maybe it will be the Canon refurbished store that gets all this stock back?

Read the comments on the article - here it is - 

"The inventory was being used as collateral. We had auditors in about every other month to count things to make sure we had what we said we had."  (this commentor claims to be an employee and his statements sound pretty consistent and legit)

As to this:
It is sad when companies that have been around for a long time suddenly disappear ... but its a shame that the owners of the company gave no warning to their employees ... hope the employees are rewarded well and find better jobs.

From what I've read about chapter 7...it's the nasty of the nasty.  Management would not be allowed to tell employees prior to the closing because of how severe the situation is.  It's don't to prevent things like, the employees walking out with half of what's in the store!  Here's 2 lawyer comments:

"I am a US lawyer, but I don't practice bankruptcy law. I'm not an expert. Having said that: it's possible that Calumet wasn't allowed to warn employees, or at least that it might have caused problems if they had. As I understand it, the idea is to lock the doors of your business and hand the key over to the court, and then it's up to the court to oversee the feeding frenzy of creditors.

If a business warns its employees in advance, what happens if those employees steal a bunch of equipment on their way out the door? That equipment would have been sold to repay creditors, and now it can't be. Those creditors have every reason to look at management and ask, "Did you look the other way while these thefts occurred because you didn't want to see us repaid? Did you arrange to split the proceeds with your ex-employees?" It would undermine the point of bankruptcy protection.

But again, I don't practice bankruptcy law and I would welcome correction from someone who does this stuff every day."

And the reply to that -

"I am also a lawyer who doesn't practice bankruptcy law directly, although I have a lot of experience with it incidentally. Your comment is on the money, although another concern is creditors either trying to get special treatment if they know bankruptcy is imminent (which the bankruptcy court then has to try to undo) or immediately ceasing to provide services (such as utilities, computing services, etc) which would cause premature disruption of the business and, again, ultimately harm creditors.

Yes, it sucks, but this is how it has to be. If this were Chapter 11 (Restructuring) it would be different, but Chapter 7 (Liquidation) is an ugly, ugly process and there are no winners.I feel bad for the employees and those who have equipment in for service, as well as those who've already paid for merchandise that will never be delivered. Hopefully they at least manage to get the service equipment back to its rightful owners and pay their employees, although that latter seems unlikely."

Last copy past moment - that employee I qouted, he actually posted the email he recieved notifying him of what was happening:

Personally I'm not entirely sure I can believe anything that comes out of corporate. We had been struggling the past year, but around the start of the year we had been told things were turning around. That we had refinanced. That things would get better. They didn't. They actually started getting worse. As of a few days ago, we heard they were trying to refinance things again, so they could finally run the company the way they wanted to. We got this email last night:

• Over the past couple of months, management has been working tirelessly in an

effort to get the Company’s lender to support our plan to restructure the business.

We believed that we had a very viable plan that would allow Calumet to be a

healthy, profitable company. As of yesterday, the lender had given us indications

that they would support our efforts. However, to our surprise and despite all of

our hard work, the lender today suddenly decided that they would not support us;

• As a result, we have been forced to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Unfortunately, this

means that we must cease operations, shut our doors and terminate all employees,

effective immediately. This means you are not to show up for work tomorrow.

We are so sorry that it has come this. This is not what we had anticipated.

• We will make arrangements soon for everyone to come and get their personal


• There will be a lot of questions that people will have that we do not have answers

to, but we will make every effort to get answers. If you have a question, please

write it down and send it to me and we will do our best to get back to you as soon

as we can. We ask that you be patient since this is all new to us.

• We will be requesting that the lender agree to pay payroll through today, but there

is no guarantee they will agree to do so. As soon as we receive a response, we

will let you know.

• Again, we are so sorry that this has happened and personally thank you for all of

your hard work and dedication.

So...sounds to me like there were a lot of factors leading to this.  An older company struggling to transition to the new emerging economy - a new economy filled with ways for people to get the same thing for less.  Maybe that's why they bought all those new storefronts?  Either way - with an already bad financial forecast they borrowed a bunch of $$, bought new stores in key locations...sounded great on paper but in every article and forum I read on this I hear stories of the same old story - I went in and they didn't have what I needed in stock, could have ordered it there but it would have been cheaper, easier, and faster online.   the other big thing I've read is that they really pushed those classes. 

It's a nasty nasty thing. 

EOS Bodies / Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« on: March 16, 2014, 01:25:32 PM »
Sadly, just another sign of the times.

It's extremely difficult to simultaneously serve locally and compete globally. Pricing pressure is stiff, and knowledgeable retail staff has been displaced by online reviews and feedback from previous purchasers.

We've transitioned from handling the gear in a local store and then buying it there, to handling it in the store and then buying it online, to buying it online without first handling it, and then just sending it back if it doesn't meet expectations upon receipt. No wonder the brick and mortar stores are drying up.

I think the end is in the foreseeable future for nearly all specialty electronics stores. What we will have left is the big box stores for entry- and mid-level gear, and the online merchants for the high-end, specialty gear. The only local specialty shops will be those that can continue to differentiate in some unique or special way that appeals to its surrounding customer base.

+1000 ---  of course, the online merchants (b&h and adorama) have brick and mortar operations.  But still, I can count lots of times where I've needed something, call the local shops to see if they have it, and they don't.  Of course, they can order it but then you add it all up - it takes longer for the local shop to get a product in that it does for B&h to ship to me (I live in Buffalo ny so even if I do the standard UPS it's here in 3-4 days) and it's cheaper and I don't have to go anywhere to pick it up!  I'll buy from the local shops when it makes sense.  But more times than not they don't have what I need in stock because Buffalo is a smaller market and can't support a larger store (and we have it all split up weird too - 1 store that specializes in nikon and one that does canon).

EOS Bodies / Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« on: March 16, 2014, 01:11:37 PM »
I once ordered a 70-200 F4 L IS lens from these guys. Shortly after ordering, I found a practically brand new one locally off Craigslist for way cheaper.  So I asked for and was granted a return by Calumet. I shipped my completely unopened packaged right back to them (I didn't even open the Calumet packaging, let alone the Canon packaging). Later on I checked my credit card online statement to see if I got refunded.

They did refund me.......and also charged me a $60 restocking fee for a package that I didn't even open.

If that's how they ran their business, I say Good Riddance!

So wait, you found a used (yeah, unopened and brand new) lens for cheaper.  So you sent back your order.  Doesn't matter if you opened it or not.  You bought it, you committed too it!!!!  Restocking fee's are there for a reason --- why --- because people do that!!!  Thrifty folks who say, wow, I could rent that lens for $XX per day - or - I could buy it and send it back within a month for less. 

Either way ---- we can't both complain that there are no longer brick and mortar stores, then screw those brick and mortar stores when we see something cheaper elsewhere.  Talk about reframing the arguement ---maybe it wasn't due to bad management --- maybe it was too many customers like you who screwed them...sorry if that's harsh...but...to put it on a personal level...

Lets say you shoot portraits.  You book the client, they commit to a minimum price, you do the shoot, you make the edits, they pick their prints, you order their prints...   you deliver them even.  And 2 days later they call you and ask for a refund because they found someone down the street that was able to do it for cheaper?   How long are you going to stay in business with customers like that????

Landscape / Re: Please share your snow/ Ice Photos with us in CR.
« on: March 12, 2014, 05:53:38 PM »
Buffalo Blizzard 2.0....lol

Landscape / Re: Please share your snow/ Ice Photos with us in CR.
« on: March 12, 2014, 10:50:34 AM »
I don't normally have a great deal of sympathy for Ontarians but these shots tug at my heart.  I guess people can take it but what about the poor wildlife.  Maybe they should just pack up and move to Alberta! ;)
Oops, I forgot we had -36C one night last week. :(


those are from NY side, Ontario view is much nicer - especially for the frozen shot, you need to be on the other side to really get the shot.

Landscape / Re: Please share your snow/ Ice Photos with us in CR.
« on: March 12, 2014, 02:03:48 AM »
here's a few of partially frozen niagara falls

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