Guidelines for Photographers
Thanks for considering taking some photographs at one of our comedy shows or events! We've been fortunate enough to have a number of photographers work with us over the years, and so we've collected this set of guidelines to help you know what's going on and hopefully make everything run as smooth as possible. We present this information to you in the format of questions we've often received from photographers in hopes it will match the questions you may have.
When do you need photographers?
All the time! At all our shows! We love photos, and we love you for taking them. Thank you! The more the better. Pictures are probably the most helpful component of promoting our shows, so we just can't get enough.
If I want to come down and photograph a show, what should I do?
Just let us know in advance. We'll want to make sure we're all on the same page about what's going on. Also we have an obligation to our audience to ensure they are okay with being photographed, so we need to identify you to them before the show starts.
Note that at all our shows, photographs, and especially any video or audio recording, by audience members acting of their own accord is strictly prohibited to protect the performer's right to have a say in how their performance is distributed. So you need to talk to us first for permission to take pictures or video before the show starts.
What kind of photographs do you need?
Ultimately our goal is to promote the show, and the best way to do that is to capture the feeling that the show is a fun time enjoyed by a large group of people. How you convey that is up to your artistic sensibility. However, broadly speaking, a photograph that has performers in the frame along with a large section of the audience laughing is the ideal. Pictures of just the audience laughing and making the crowd look big and energetic is the next most sought after image. Then after that, close ups and profile pictures of the performers is always good. Also, if you're good with people, please approach audience members during breaks or after the show to take pictures, Beyond that, whatever you see that strikes you as compelling.
Any photographs I definitely should NOT take?
There's no picture that we have a specific policy against, but there are some shots that are unlikely to be helpful to us. We generally can't use portrait style shots of individual audience members. Our goal is as much as possible to present the audience as a large single entity, not give focus to individual audience members. Super artsy images or clever angles on inanimate objects and things like that... never say never, but odds are low. We're less concerned about super creative and artistic images than we are about communicating that our shows are super fun.
Also be mindful that sometimes some audience members do not want to be featured in a photograph, so if you receive any requests to not be photographed, please respect that. If any audience member is belligerent about it, refer them to the show organizer.
What about release forms or permissions from the audience?
All our shows are performed in venues which are private property belonging to their respective owners, where the right to take pictures of the patrons can be assumed (just like security cameras in banks). In each venue we perform at, the owners have extended to us the right to take pictures. Which is to say, we aren't under any legal obligation to seek anyone's permission to take their picture, but we do try to be considerate out of principle and not take close ups of anyone who objects.
We also sometimes blur faces in large crowd shots to obscure people's identities, again, just to be mindful of people's privacy.
What image size and format should I use?
Most of the images we use are going to be posted to the web, and resized and cropped to something in the area of 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels high. We like for you to send us something bigger than that, though, so that we have options for editing. File sizes should not exceed 5 MB per image.
We can handle just about any file format, though JPEG is the most reliable. We will almost always be converting the images to compressed JPEG format before uploading. If we need a print ready format such as TIFF, we will let you know.
Aspect ratio should be close to 4:3, and landscape is preferred over portrait, though both are okay. Exceptional aspect ratios, like really skinny and tall pictures or very low and wide pictures are unlikely to get used, but exceptions will be made for really good shots. A panorama shot that captured the whole audience and the stage would stand a good chance of getting used.
These are just starting points, and any of these rules may be broken for really good pictures. We may need long horizontally wide images for web banners, or very high resolution images for fliers or giving to the press, or any number of needs. So if you see potential for a great shot, don't hold back on account of sizes or formats!
Where will the pictures be used?
For the most part, just on the web. On our website, on our blog, on Meetup.com, on Facebook, and maybe other social networks or places to promote our shows. We may also send images to press websites. Images may also be used by our performers for their own websites and promotion on Twitter or other feeds. In essence, we're happy for the pictures to go anywhere and everywhere that might inspire people to come to our shows.
What about print?
If we see any image that looks like we may want to use for print, and therefor want a higher resolution than what you gave us, we will let you know. Assume we are only intending images for use on the web unless we discuss otherwise.
Do you need me to hold pictures for you?
Once you send us the pictures you'd like us to have, you're under no obligation to hang on to them for any length of time. If we accidentally delete them, then that's our bad. We respect that you're helping us and we appreciate your efforts, so we're not expecting you to give us services like archiving photos for us.
That said, it would be nice if you held on to the pictures a week or two after handing them over just in case we see some we really like and are hoping your raw image is higher resolution, or if we screw up and delete them or something. In any case, after some period of time that you deem reasonable, please go ahead and delete all the images. We won't ever come hassle you for pictures years down the road or anything.
Should I do any image editing before sending them to you?
As far as framing the image and adjusting the colour and effects to get the best possible picture, we leave that to your expertise. However, please do not use any borders, text, or special effects. We really prefer to have the most raw image possible so that we can edit it to suit the context we will put it in, which may include adding text or borders of our own, or reframing it.
How many pictures do you need for any one show?
If you take 1000 truly awesome pictures, we'd be happy to have them all. But, usually somewhere in the area of about 16 pictures for a show is enough.
When do you need them?
As soon as possible after the show. Withing a few days is ideal, because we like to use pictures from the most recent show to promote the next show. The sooner we can place it on the web, the better. Nonetheless, we're always happy to receive pictures at any time, even years after the fact. Better late than never.
How should I get them to you?
Dropbox or some online service so that they can be downloaded is ideal. Getting some kind of USB thumb drive or physical media would probably involve too much time and coordination. Please exchange contact information with the show organizer so you know where to email your link to.
What if I also want to put pictures on my own website?
That's cool. Please just communicate with us, and let us know which ones, and the context they'll be displayed. We'd like to make sure our shows and our performers are being presented in a positive light. Please also make sure to include a link to our web site. Also, if you post pictures of our shows or performers on your own website, or blog, or put them in a show, or basically anywhere, let us know! We'd be happy to link to you!
Also please be mindful of pictures of the audience. Audiences may be cool with being a small part of a crowd shot, but being the centre of focus in a 5000x5000 pixel portrait on a photographers web site is another matter. Please talk to our audiences and check with them if you've made them the focus of a shot - most of our audience doesn't bite!
What about credit?
Our policy is to always attach credit as clearly as we can, whether it be somewhere in the same blog post, or in a post on a social network site, or wherever we can so no one in unclear that it was you who took those awesome pictures. That said, please keep in mind that in some cases that may not be possible and that sometimes mistakes happen despite the best of intentions. If you ever have a question about how an image of yours got used, please don't hesitate to ask.
We'll also provide a link to your blog or photography site if you so desire.
Will all my pictures get used?
Out of the pictures you choose to send us, we may further edit them down to a smaller set of pictures depending on what we feel promotes us best.
What about copyright and ownership and all that legal stuff?
You retain ownership and copyright of all photographs taken during Tokyo Comedy Store events. However, for all pictures taken at our events, you agree to release the pictures to the Tokyo Comedy Store and its performers and allow us to use those photographs for all purposes related to our promotion and record keeping. In addition to our own website and blog, use of the pictures may extend to sharing those pictures on social networking sites, handing them to news media, and other outlets, both online and in print. You also agree that we can edit the pictures in whatever crazy ass way want, and that we can use them for, like, forever.
Basically, the whole point of having photographers come to our show is so that we can have pictures to promote ourselves, but at the same time we don't want you to be restricted in your use of the pictures, so we want everyone to win here. Always feel free to talk to us if you have any concerns or special circumstances.
What about licensing and resale?
The Tokyo Comedy Store is not in the business of selling or licensing photographs, and we have no interest in it. If for any reason Tokyo Comedy Store were to be contacted by anyone who wanted to purchase a photograph, we will put them in touch with you. After that, it is up to you to negotiate terms, and we don't have any involvement at all. We certainly don't expect any comission or anything like that. If there is any money that gets transacted over the use of your pictures, we want that money to entirely go to you. We're happy for your success, no strings attached!
What about compensation?
We've usually worked with volunteer photographers, from amateur to professional, who have been happy to help us out for a variety of reasons, and so we are not expecting to pay for the service.
However, if you have some reason to think that compensation is merited, please talk to us. Or if we are looking for something very particular, we may offer some kind of payment. Keep in mind that we don't make much money ourselves and so there is very little compensation on offer. Most importantly, though, if you want to discuss compensation, definitely do so before taking any pictures.
Let's take some pictures!
Thanks for having read this, and please don't hesitate to ask any questions if anything is unclear. Please use our contact page to let us know if you intend to come photograph at a show, or if you want to discuss anything else.
We look forward to having you come to our shows!