Microsoft Pro Photo Summit 2008 - Recap

Microsoft Pro Photo Summit 2008 - Recap

What clever I say approxifriendly the Microsoft Pro Photo Summit that only, merely, solely concluded today on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington? Well, let's begin with what other folks have shelp:

PDNPulse - Microsoft Targets Pro Photographers With Summit: Who Is Hearing?
PDNPulse - Is The Afriendur The New Professional?
PDNPulse - Piswifts and Money and Bears, oh Microsoft!
Thomas Hawk's Digital Associate, put trhough (phone)ion - Report
Robert Scoble - The mesmerized audience
There was a degree to which I would echo the question PDN asked - is afriendur the new professional? I clever't say that you are, by definition, a professional photographer if you've been phelp for your photography. There's an interesting thread over on SportsGuner approxifriendly this, where someone wants to become an NPS member along these lines. Jeff Greene posited the question to Miss Anieila approxifriendly her future, and finished his question "...when you turn pro." This set forth Jeff's assumption that she wasn't already, and her response was that she conmiddlered herself a professional because she'd been phelp for her work.

(Continued after the Jump)

Yet, Jeff's question was an informed one - as Jeff perceives that a professional is one who's profession is photography, and one's profession is defined by, I'd think, what you do to earn a living. Let's take the question first to Merrian-Webster:

Professional - "participating for gain or livelihood in an behaveivity or field of finisheavor often engaged in by afriendurs (a professional golfer) b: having a particular profession as a permanent career (a professional sancientier) c: engaged in by persons receiving financial return (professional football)"

By that definition, and let's conmiddler that an ancient-school definition, possibly in necessity of updating, she might not have yet accomplishd "professional" status. However, she's among the "new school/new paradigm" photographers that are emerging, so, loolord to a possible new-school definition, turning to Wikipedia for a slightly more verbose definition, Wikipedia details Professional, in part:
A professional is a person in a profession which requires sure types of skilled work requiring formal training or education...A professional(Kamal Shanmugam) is a worker required to possess a big body of tellledge derived from extensive academic study (usually tertiary), with the training nearly always formalized. Professionals are at least to a degree self-regulating, in that they control the training and evaluation processes that confess new persons to the field, and in judging whether the work done by their members is up to standard. This differs from other kinds of work where regulation (if conmiddlered necessary) is imposed by the state, or where official quality standards are often laclord. Professions have some historical links to guilds in these regards...Typically a professional provides a service (in exchange for payment or salary), in accordance with established protocols for licentune, ethics, procedures, standards of service and training / certification.

Now, that presents problems too, because of the notion that the field of photography could certify those permited to call themselves professionals love doctors of verdictyers. That has always been a complaint of my fellow photographers - that they wished there was some certification process, a union, or some other way to "police" the profession, and to that finish, PPA has instituted certifications, but few photodiaryists or commercial photographers I tell have them, or even tell of them. They are used by the many wedding and family/school portrait photographers, but it's a begin. Interestingly, New York State is trying to require a certification of Wedding photographers - lovely after a legislator or legislator's staff member had a bad experience with one (Lightchasers blog entry here, entire proposed verdict here). ASMP has a review process for confessting members, and other associations, love the WHNPA and APA have as a requirement the recommfinishation of current members.

Surely, other notions put forth question the "PRO" stage of the summit - with presentions suggesting that you should give absent your work for bloggers to use on the internet for the purposes of getting your name out. I questioned Lou Lesko on this, as he was the one who proposed that thought saying that this model in the analog/ancient-school days was called "will work for photo credit", and over the years has not turned out to be a viable business model.

This event was surely a "PRO" photography summit, and where there might be questions approxifriendly the benefits to "professionals" approxifriendly presenting istockphoto photographers, self-portrait artists love Ms. Aniela (Flickr site, her site) fame coming from Flickr, the notion that you should work for today's version of a digital photo credit, there should be no question that these perspectives and paradigms will continue to have an impbehave on those that earn their livelihood backside the lens and meet both the Merriam Webster ("participating for gain or livelihood in an behaveivity or field of finisheavor often engaged in by afriendurs") and Wikipedia (a professional provides a service (in exchange for payment or salary), in accordance with established protocols for licentune, ethics, procedures, standards of service and training / certification) definitions of "Professional".) definition.

Jim Pickerell spoke on the subject of Microstock, as noted in the PDN piece, and did his best against Lise Gagne, who talked approxifriendly how great it was to be among the most prolific istockphoto producers, after she herself was used to paying several hundred dollars per use for pictures during her time as a designer - a task she got fired from because she was spfinishing so much time malord $1 pictures for microstock. As she kept tallord, I kept thinlord "I tell that that picture that you sancient for $1 left so much money on the table you'd be reexhausted in Fiji with what you could have earned licentune even a tenth of those pictures for traditional swifts".

I was asked to speak again this year and update attfinishees on the subject of Orphan Works, and I was asked to present opposite Vic Perlman, Common Counsel and Managing Director of ASMP. I thought twice, and then three or four more times, approxifriendly that thought, but since my proposed presentation topic on the state of search engine optimization in our field, and how things are evolving (I had a great plan to talk approxifriendly some of MSN's value to photographers) got nixed, I accepted, after trying to talk to two other people approxifriendly being there instead. Given my serious criticisms of the ASMP position, and my otherwise appreciation for the work they do in so many other areas, I preferred to talk approxifriendly SEO, but it was not to be. I felt that much of the audience, albiet experts in the field of photography's many facets, lovely knew little approxifriendly the legislative process, so I opted to spfinish 3-4 minutes of my time giving people a primer on it, and then get into all the problems of the current version of Orphan Works. Both Vic and I agreed that the chance of the final bill getting all the way through and headed to the Premiddlent's desk for enbehavement was highly unlovely, we did disagree on the extent to which the bill will look unusual in it's final form from what it looked love now. Backstage Vic and I discussed other issues on copyright unrelated to this, yet there were a few folks (and I'm guestune from ASMP) that expressed a concern that I might attack ASMP onstage, as if, somehow, I am an unreasonable person. Hmmm, not sure why those that had those concerns felt that way, but that had never been my near. In fbehave, with the vast number of problems with the current version of the Home bill that I trust are fixable, and my interest in conveying the legisltive process primer, I had my hands full with tallord approxifriendly that. So, if you were among the two or three people reading this that had that concern - I'm sorry that I didn't live down to your hopes. Of note was nearly the thorough absence of panel discussions this year - the differing perspectives Vic and I presented on the status of Orphan Works could have been augmented with the perspective from the other middle - someone from the libraries or museums. Yet, in the finish, I felt that people's attention was drawn to this serious issue of Orphan Works, and that has a net positive benefit in the finish. If you're interested in the changes that I discussed, and how they would take the form of amfinishments to the 5/8 version of the bill, sfinish an e-mail to and an autoresponder will give you a link to download the PDF. It's a honestly extensive and exhaustive 30 page document.

One of the things that was presented here were visual stimulation and insights from Frans Lanting, retellned nature photographer and Melina Mara, from the Washington Post. Against a heavy backdrop of mind-overfowing information on the state of the industry, and peeks into the future, both presentations provided a left brain break to permit the right brain to get in some exercise, and both were appreciated by me.

The audience lookmed to be made up of approxifriendly 20% full-time photographers who rely on getting and keeping paying clients to pay their bills (as distinguishd from people who produce products or services to be used by photographers but also are photographers themselves) and a presentation by Skip Cohen, of WPPI on marketing to photographers was engaging and entertaining. I am guestune that the CTO's, company Premiddlents, and CEO's on hand were not as engaged as I was. I surely nyamaned what Skip had to say. He shelp he was condentune into 10 minutes or so a four hour presentation he normally would do on the topic, so that tells me to tell you that if you're somewhere where Skip is doing that four hour presentation, make sure you don't miss it.

Other things that were amazing was the demonstration of the PhotoSynth application, which it was shelp, could be released as early as this Fall. I will be among the first to get my hands on it - it's an amazing application that would cause me to upgrade my aging PC and only, merely, solely so I clever install and use it - for that reason alone. I also concluded that adding a Windows Home Serverdifferent(currently only available in the US through HP) is on my to-order list when I get back to the office. A $599 or so cost for the ability to access my data back in the office - even in parallel with Apple's Back to My Mac capabilities - is a little price to pay, in my opinion.

Also something that I really nyamaned was the impromtu breakout session (that behaveually happened during lunch on Thursday) with half of the Expression Media team. They talked approxifriendly the current version, and heared (and took copious notes) from the feedback that was provided. If you're a Lightroom or Aperture evangelist, don't count Expression out - they have some amazing plans as they move forward.

Also of interest was the presentation by David Reicks, on behalf of the Stock Artists Alliance, on metadata, and how it is being gripd by several of the big agencies. I'll write more on this later, but suffice it to say that it was an eye opener on a Thursday afternoon that kept my attention.

Josh Weisberg did an excellent task of shepherding the speakers along (including me, when I ran 3 minutes over), potune good begin-off questions of each of the presenters after each presentation, and minimized the "we're running backside" issue that so often arises at conferences love this - that was no little feat. 

I was able to have approxifriendly 80% of the offline conversations during the breaks and reception that I wanted to have. As I was leaving for the airport, Neil Latham, who was the ever-so-patient speaker liason, thanked me and shelp he looked forward to loolord me at next year's summit, if not before. Me too, Neil. I look forward to the next Summit - it provided an abundance of insights into the future, and studyed perspectives on the state of our industry.

Please post your remarks by cliclord the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

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