Tag Archives: attribution

After Post Production Magic, Can Photographers Still Claim Ownership of Images?

29 Jul

Pre vs. Post Production. Image provided courtesy of Kristina Sherk of Shark Pixel

Pre vs. Post Production. Image provided courtesy of Kristina Sherk of Shark Pixel.

Pre vs. Post Production. Image provided courtesy of Kristina Sherk of Shark Pixel.

In a world where editing programs allow us to alter virtually any aspect of an image from the color of a model’s dress to seamlessly stitching photos together or rearranging elements within the frame, the concept of ownership of an image post production is becoming increasingly gray. At what point do images start belonging to the post production artists that help shape images for the editorial and commercial world?

I ran into this question chatting with artist Kristen Monthei at a lovely happy hour hosted by the American Photographic Artists.

What, if any is the industry standard for giving credit, and at what point should post production artists be added to photo credits? If you enlist help in post production, as a photographer, how can you be sure to give proper attribution to your fellow creatives?

To find answers, I reached out to Kristina Sherk of Shark Pixel, a professional photo retoucher with over 8 years experience in the industry. Based in DC, Sherk has collaborated with clients such as Hasselblad, NPR and XM Radio.

Read on for our Q&A and an insider’s take on the world of post production.

As a professional post production artist, is it standard to be given attribution in your work for clients, or does it depend on the situation?

Right now, it is definitely not standard to get recognition for jobs in the industry, but hopefully that will change in the near future. I think the industry is changing; slowly.

At what point in the creative process do you usually become involved? Do you ever weigh in at the beginning and help with the concept, or are you brought in after the shoot happens?

At this point, I usually become involved after the photo has been taken. Occasionally, photographers call me in advance, but it’s not the norm. I would love to advise more clients on concept–especially if they are working with composites. It would be great to advise them on how to shoot differently for composites and explain how it will help me do my job better.

How many hours would you say you spend working on individual images, and at what point do you feel like they become partly your own?

The time per job really depends. There are some jobs that only take me 45 minutes, and some that take 13 hours! If I have a major hand in shaping the look of the image, then I feel that as a retoucher, I deserve credit. If compositing is involved, I also feel retouchers should be recognized. Those are two circumstances where I definitely feel that post production artists should be recognized.

Do you think that the public, and photographers in general, understand how much post-production alters images in commercial and editorial work?

Personally, I feel that one of the only ways for professional photographers to stay current, is to be pushed to create imagery outside of the realm of possibility, which often means retouching. The market is getting flooded with people who buy a pro-sumer cameras and automatically call themselves professional photographers. Just to be clear, this definitely isn’t the only way for photographers to stay at the top of the field, but it’s one of the ways. I would compare retouching photos to special effects in video. Image if you couldn’t include any special effects in any movie that was created?
Thanks to Kristina for sharing her thoughts. There are clearly many issues to think about in the post production arena. Have any other photogs worked with a post producer and want to share their experience? Are there any questions you’d like to hear answers to? Feel free to shoot me an email, or add them on in the comments!
Want to see more post production work? The ASMP is holding a competition for professional post production artists. If you like Kirstina’s work and want to support a fellow creative, visit the website, search for “gold girl” and vote for her image!