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Tory L Cooper Events – Details from CAMELOT – The Opportunity Village gala fundraiser

November 18, 2012 | By | No Comments

This is charity at its best.

Tory L Cooper Wedding and Event Planners donated their overabundance of talent to CAMELOT – the big fundraiser for Opportunity Village. With an army of volunteers from throughout the Las Vegas community, one of the Opportunity Village campuses was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Virtually every thing and everybody’s time was donated in the service of raising funds for this most excellent and efficient charity. I will attempt to list the many incredibly generous vendors as I get that information.

More than 80% of Opportunity Village’s funds are privately raised. Over 98% of the money raised at this year’s CAMELOT goes directly to funding Opportunity Village.

Fabulous Pastries from Jean Philippe Patisserie ARIA donated to Opportunity Village Camelot Fundraiser

November 17, 2012 | By | No Comments

Hat tip to the pastry artists at Jean Philippe Patisserie at ARIA, for donating this exquisite, elegant, indescribably delicious feast of sweets for Opportunity Village’s Camelot fundraiser. At the end of an evening of entertainment and generosity, all the guests were met with this kaleidoscopic exhibition of excellence. Having missed the dinner service, I snuck one or two. All I can say is “Vive la France!”

VIPs tour Opportunity Village – Billy Walters, Brad Garrett, David Copperfield, Frankie Moreno

November 14, 2012 | By | No Comments

In advance of their big gala fundraiser tomorrow evening (“Camelot”), Opportunity Village today hosted a VIP tour of some of Las Vegas’ most well known and generous people. I had the privilege and pleasure to document all the fun and excitement.

The clients of Opportunity Village, who learn job skills and do valuable work to earn a paycheck, were truly excited to meet some of the people they’ve known for years from TV and from the Las Vegas stage. Brad Garrett, of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame, is as generous of spirit and laughter as he is tall. Talk about lighting up a room! So many clients were also ecstatic to meet in person perhaps the most famous and successful magician in the world, David Copperfield, who also gave so deeply of his time and emotion all day long. Frankie Moreno, “Best of Vegas” Best All-Around Performer of 2012 and headline act at  the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, wowed everybody with his tremendous musical energy and generous spirit. And Billy and Susan Walters were also gracious enough to co-host the tour. Billy Walters is probably the most successful sports gamer in history, respected throughout the world of sports gambling. He and his lovely wife Susan are also among the most generous givers to Opportunity Village. In fact, tomorrow night’s Gala black tie fundraiser is in their honor.

I was truly honored to give back to this most impressive charity. This is the way charity ought to be done – nearly all private donations (80% of OV’s donations are private), a focus on giving people skills, and giving them the opportunity to earn a paycheck with dignity.

I happened to do my first tour of Opportunity Village on a pay day. I cannot overstate how excited and proud each of Opportunity’s clients (who are also its workers) were to be getting their hard-earned checks. If you love pay day, you’ve got nothing on these folks!

Stay tuned for more VIP photos, and for a whole lot of photos from the gala ball tomorrow night.

Re-Branding – Our New Business Cards

July 24, 2012 | By | 3 Comments

What do you think of our new business cards?

Shockingly, Photographers Can’t Work for Free.

December 12, 2011 | By | No Comments

Tony Wu has graciously allowed his article to be shared under a Creative Commons license. Here is a link to the original article. http://photoprofessionals.wordpress.com/

Reasons Why Professional Photographers Cannot Work for Free

Dear potential photo buyer,

If you have been directed to this page, it is likely that you have requested the use of an image or images for free or minimal compensation.

As professional photographers, we receive requests for free images on a regular basis. In a perfect world, each of us would love to be able to respond in a positive manner and assist, especially with projects or efforts related to areas such as education, social issues, and conservation of natural resources. It is fair to say that in many cases, we wish we had the time and resources to do more to assist than just send photographs.

Unfortunately, such are the practicalities of life that we are often unable to respond, or that when we do, our replies are brief and do not convey an adequate sense of the reasons underlying our response.

Circumstances vary for each situation, but we have found that there are a number of recurring themes, which we have set out below with the objective of communicating more clearly with you, and hopefully avoiding misunderstandings or unintentionally engendering ill will.

Please take the following points in the constructive manner in which they are intended. We certainly hope that after you have had a chance to read this, we will be able to talk again and establish a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Photographs Are Our Livelihood
Creating compelling images is the way we make our living. If we give away our images for free, or spend too much time responding to requests for free images, we cannot make a living.

We Do Support Worthy Causes With Images
Most of us do contribute photographs, sometimes more, to support certain causes. In many cases, we may have participated directly in projects that we support with images, or we may have a pre-existing personal relationship with key people involved with the efforts concerned. In other words, each of us can and does provide images without compensation on a selective basis.

We Have Time Constraints
Making a leap from such selective support to responding positively to every request we get for free photographs, however, is impractical, if for no other reason than the substantial amount of time required to respond to requests, exchange correspondence, prepare and send files, and then follow-up to find out how our images were used and what objectives, if any, were achieved. It takes a lot of time to respond to requests, and time is always in short supply.

Pleas of “We Have No Money” Are Often Difficult to Fathom
The primary rationale provided in nearly all requests for free photographs is budgetary constraint, meaning that the requestor pleads a lack of funds.

Such requests frequently originate from organisations with a lot of cash on hand, whether they be publicly listed companies, government or quasi-government agencies, or even NGOs. Often, it is a simple matter of taking a look at a public filing or other similar disclosure document to see that the entity concerned has access to significant funding, certainly more than enough to pay photographers a reasonable fee should they choose to do so.

To make matters worse, it is apparent that all too often, of all the parties involved in a project or particular effort, photographers are the only ones being asked to work for free. Everyone else gets paid.

Given considerations like this, you can perhaps understand why we frequently feel slighted when we are told that: “We have no money.” Such claims can come across as a cynical ploy intended to take advantage of gullible individuals.

We Have Real Budget Constraints
With some exceptions, photography is not a highly remunerative profession. We have chosen this path in large part due to the passion we have for visual communication, visual art, and the subject matters in which we specialise.

The substantial increase in photographs available via the internet in recent years, coupled with reduced budgets of many photo buyers, means that our already meager incomes have come under additional strain.

Moreover, being a professional photographer involves significant monetary investment.

Our profession is by nature equipment-intensive. We need to buy cameras, lenses, computers, software, storage devices, and more on a regular basis. Things break and need to be repaired. We need back-ups of all our data, as one ill-placed cup of coffee could literally erase years of work. For all of us, investment in essential hardware and software entails thousands of dollars a year, as we need to stay current with new technology and best practices.

In addition, travel is a big part of many of our businesses. We must spend a lot of money on transportation, lodging and other travel-related costs.

And of course, perhaps most importantly, there is a substantial sum associated with the time and experience we have invested to become proficient at what we do, as well as the personal risks we often take. Taking snapshots may only involve pressing the camera shutter release, but creating images requires skill, experience and judgement.

So the bottom line is that although we certainly understand and can sympathise with budget constraints, from a practical point of view, we simply cannot afford to subsidise everyone who asks.

Getting “Credit” Doesn’t Mean Much
Part and parcel with requests for free images premised on budgetary constraints is often the promise of providing “credit” and “exposure”, in the form or a watermark, link, or perhaps even a specific mention, as a form of compensation in lieu of commercial remuneration.

There are two major problems with this.

First, getting credit isn’t compensation. We did, after all, create the images concerned, so credit is automatic. It is not something that we hope a third party will be kind enough to grant us.

Second, credit doesn’t pay bills. As we hopefully made clear above, we work hard to make the money required to reinvest in our photographic equipment and to cover related business expenses. On top of that, we need to make enough to pay for basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, etc.

In short, receiving credit for an image we created is a given, not compensation, and credit is not a substitute for payment.

“You Are The Only Photographer Being Unreasonable”
When we do have time to engage in correspondence with people and entities who request free photos, the dialogue sometimes degenerates into an agitated statement directed toward us, asserting in essence that all other photographers the person or entity has contacted are more than delighted to provide photos for free, and that somehow, we are “the only photographer being unreasonable”.

We know that is not true.

We also know that no reasonable and competent photographer would agree to unreasonable conditions. We do allow for the fact that some inexperienced photographers or people who happen to own cameras may indeed agree to work for free, but as the folk wisdom goes: “You get what you pay for.”

Please Follow-Up
One other experience we have in common is that when we do provide photographs for free, we often do not receive updates, feedback or any other form of follow-up letting us know how the event or project unfolded, what goals (if any) were achieved, and what good (if any) our photos did.

All too often, we don’t even get responses to emails we send to follow-up, until, of course, the next time that someone wants free photographs.

In instances where we do agree to work for free, please have the courtesy to follow-up and let us know how things went. A little consideration will go a long way in making us feel more inclined to take time to provide additional images in the future.

Wrap Up
We hope that the above points help elucidate why the relevant photographer listed below has sent you to this link. All of us are dedicated professionals, and we would be happy to work with you to move forward in a mutually beneficial manner.
http://bit.ly/vvxIw8

Grateful for Being Featured in OneWed’s Savvy Scoop!

December 5, 2011 | By | No Comments

Thanks to Azure, the editor of OneWed’s wedding blog “Savvy Scoop”, for featuring the moving, beautiful heartfelt wedding of Yer and Jeff last Fall at the uber-hospitable TPC Las Vegas. I did the principal photography, and there are so many people to thank for making this wedding happen, starting of course with Yer & Jeff.