My Petersen’s Photographic magazine cover – Volume 5, 2014

Now on newsstands – the latest cover of Petersen’s Photographic with my Jenny Lake, Wyoming (Grand Teton National Park) image.  
I also have eight articles and dozens of my photos inside to read and enjoy.  Check it out in stores everywhere!

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Gaucho García – The Art of Asado

Last month I had the pleasure of photographing this cool new Argentinian BBQ design for a new client, Gaucho Garcia.  We spent a day capturing studio shots (I set up a portable on-location studio with a backdrop and lighting), and later that afternoon we set up an outdoor BBQ scene.  
Their new site is up with my all images (including the animation of the grill rolling up), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign as well (accessible through GauchoGarcía.com).  
 

Check ’em out- the BBQ is amazing, the design is slick, the fundraising project looks cool, and the people are passionate and dedicated to the project: http://gauchogarcia.com/

All images © Sean Arbabi | seanarbabi.com (all rights reserved worldwide)

My photograph inspired a quilt

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – this story fits the bill.

A few years ago while on assignment for Via magazine, I captured an image of Lombard Street that ran in their July/August 2009 issue.  I was happy with the shot but didn’t feel it was the best image I captured that day, but that’s never the point when you are on assignment – the key is if your editors are pleased with the results – what they use is up to them.  I even had another editor (from a different magazine) comment on how they felt this was one of the best images of Lombard Street he had ever seen.  Goes to show you how subjective art can be.

A month later landscape quilter Susan Lane contacted me to ask permission to use this image as inspiration for a new quilt she was sewing, to hopefully show in an exhibit.  She said she was inspired by the iconic nature of this image.  Since she wasn’t creating the quilt as a product to sell or license, I granted her permission and a few months later she emailed me the results.

Susan made the 27” x 52” quilt using various methods including fused and raw-edge applique, painting and texture magic, taking over 2,000 hours to complete the piece.  She was kind enough to offer to meet so I could see the finished piece, but we never found a time to work for both of us.  You can see more detail of the quilt by visiting (and scrolling down): http://maverickquilts.wordpress.com/tag/susan-lane/
Susan’s “Lombard Street” piece appeared in numerous shows including the Pacific International Quilt Festival in 2010, and in 2012, it was accepted into The West Coast Wonders, to show at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach and then travel in a group exhibit.  For more on Susan’s work, visit: http://www.mysticstitchery.com/index.html
So many have inspired me in my artistic career, it’s nice to inspire another artist.

Books in the works….

The past few months I’ve been working on my second book – due out in the summer/fall of 2011, it will be based on nature photography- one of my first photographic loves. I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing a book because it brings out so much of what you do subconsciously, and reminds you of the many steps you take to capture a great photo.

I’ve also had the chance to capture new images without the limitations of a specific assignment- something I haven’t done much of for years.

Another book is also in the works, completely different from anything I’ve done so far- I’ll share more as it develops.

So over the next month or so, I may be absent on the blogasphere, but check me out on my Facebook fan page, where I try to pop in a number of times a week: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arbabi-Imagery-Sean-Arbabi-photography/122003760806

I’m a Flickr nut too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arbabi/

During the summer I’ll run a few workshops in the Bay Area and a few online (in between assignments), while planning a very exciting one I hope to make happen during the fall. Then in 2011, I may have an international workshop is an amazing location- more info to come.

Even with all of this activity, I continue to push forth my tv show on photography with my partner – we passionately believe in the project and hope to find a champion for it. More promotion as well as another tv spot also in the works.

Last bit a news- I was stoked to see my first book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure, hit #10 on Amazon’s Photo How-to section today- it continues to sell well, get great reviews, and I have signed copies available for anyone interested- check it out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0817435549

Or on my site (with links to bookstores around the world): http://www.seanarbabi.com/book_exposure.html

Thanks for lettin’ me spread the news & promote- when you put your blood, sweat, and tears into projects, half of the excitement is sharing it with others.

46 seconds about my book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure

Just a quick video message from about me and my exposure book – if you’re looking for a book to improve your photography, check it out!


To buy the book or get more info, go to: http://www.seanarbabi.com/book_exposure.html


Happy Holidays everyone!

Building my own career

I had a professional issue a few months back that took me back some. Sure it was upsetting but didn’t shake me – I know who I am and what my intentions are as a person and as a pro photographer. I don’t live in the past, as although you remind yourself not to take things personally, how can you not- especially when you have a passion in what you do, and work tirelessly to make it happen.


I use Facebook, enjoy connecting with friends, sharing images, posting various happenings. One day last year I posted a Sierra workshop in the events section. As a big fan of Galen Rowell’s work (great outdoor shooter and mountaineer who past away with his wife in a plane crash in ’02 – a young 62), I had joined a fan site of his on Facebook and decided to let others know of the workshop through a small message and link – Galen was big on the Sierras, spent many days and nights capturing images and climbing mountains there as I have – in fact John Muir’s book “The Yosemite” was re-printed using Galen’s images back in 2001. The fan site was not run by Galen’s company, yet by a fan, so I figured like-minded Sierra-lovin’ folk might be interested in a photo class.

I discovered Galen’s work when I was 17. We lived in the same Bay Area town and although I came to know him over the years, I couldn’t call him a friend. To me he was truly a kindred spirit (as he signed to me in one of his books). He was much like a mentor without the actual mentoring. I admired his work, attending a few of his lectures, but never inquired about how to run a photo business or get started in the industry. Out of respect, I felt that was my homework to do- my dues to pay.

My Facebook post went unnoticed – no one ever contacted me about our Sierra workshop through the site, until I received an email from someone who worked at Galen’s offices (who no longer works there). This person basically accused me of using Galen’s name, riding on his coattails to benefit my own career- truly laughable since nothing could be farther from the truth. Coming to know Galen’s staff over the years, I never once asked him for advice or for industry info, nor did I ever receive Galen’s help to get published, create a workshop, sell a gallery print, or make a stock sale. I know Galen admired me for this since so many did try to use his connections to benefit themselves. The ironic thing is when he passed, I was contacted by his office for advice on how to deal with a mutual client, which I gladly assisted with.

And of course to date I’ve been published around the world, shot hundreds of assignments, taught workshops for over 10 years, made thousands of stock sales, and sold numerous gallery prints. Although I’ve been lucky to have many wonderful people (clients, workshop students, editors) help make my dream of being a photographer come true, I didn’t get to the place I’m at by using others- I built my career through tons of hard work, late nights, sacrifice and perseverance. No one dragged my butt out of my tent to capture dawn, no one wrote my letters or emails to land jobs, no one did my research and planned my shoots but me.

So to get a message like this was not only insulting, but ridiculous. Nevertheless I followed up with a reply explaining my intentions, which were never to attach myself to Galen in any way. But what can you do. It doesn’t matter how you run your life or what your true intentions are, when someone opens their mouth without any forethought or research, you simply have to disregard their comments and move forward.

Although Galen’s presence was a source of great inspiration as I built a career in the industry, I rarely thought of him as I traveled the world on assignment. But when he past, he came to mind often. I remember in ’04 while on a job in St. Croix, overlooking the Caribbean sea while photographing at sunrise, I remember thinking “Aw Galen, you should be here to see this”. I wish he was.

Photographs aren’t free


I recently received an email from someone claiming to be a writer for a how-to website. This person stated they wrote articles for the search site and wanted to use one of my images for their article (originally used from one of my Via magazine assignments).


This is normal in the photography industry, and a big reason why I own all of my images (and do not do “Work for Hire” jobs which transfer all image rights to your clients). I grant first-time publishing rights, and once my photos are used by my client, they are part of my image collection, available to license through my company or my stock agency. Some clients think licensing our images is ‘extra money’ but it’s not- it’s simply part of our income as freelance photographers – photographers with no guaranteed source of income, no benefits, no 401K or pension plans.

Getting back to the request, after doing a little research on my own, I come to find out this person was not a writer for the website, nor employee as a writer anywhere else. Instead the site relies on people for their content – it’s like saying you’re a writer for Wikipedia. And not to bash this person since most people aren’t aware of copyright laws, or the licensing fees for a photograph, or the proper way to go about obtaining images – shoot, I’ve had some editors and clients in the past who didn’t necessarily follow the proper way being in the business of licensing images – but pleading ignorance doesn’t necessarily get you off scot-free either.


Then as I researched the how-to site a bit more I learned that my image was ALREADY on the site – with the credit listed as the magazine I originally shot it for! They basically took the image from Via’s website and pasted it into their article.

At this point I had a few options – I could:

1) Contact my copyright lawyer and sue (which is the last thing I would do since mistakes do occur, and I’m not one to stick it to people that way)

2) Send them a bill for licensing, charging them a penalty for illegally using my image (this is more in line with the norm, and completely appropriate since the image was up for at least a week or two).

3) Notify the “writer” and the website were infringing on my copyright with the unauthorized use of my image and to remove it immediately or face a possible lawsuit and licensing fees (which is what I did).

The site removed the image that day, and at first the “writer” was a bit rude but after explaining the law, she relented and apologized. If they made me an offer to pay for the use, I would have looked up the licensing fee in my price guides, and charged them appropriately including the time they had already used it for. If she didn’t apologize, she would have been dealing with my lawyer. The site also tried to claim that they didn’t have control of what members uploaded- wrong- if it’s their site, they SHOULD have control – or they might get sued.

Moral of the story- your photos are exactly that- yours. If you are a professional photographer with your own business, they are not just sitting in your files or computer, they are part of your inventory. I can’t just go and take something off of the shelf at Target, walk out with it, and claim “it was just sitting on your shelf”. A lot of money, time, effort, experience, knowledge, and equipment goes into all of the images I produce- as with any business that has a product to sell. Control your photos – do your homework – purchase pricing guides and/or software like
Fotoquote or Jim Pickerell’s stock guide, and prepare yourself for the day when a client wants to buy one of your images- or one uses an image without asking for permission. And if someone tried to abuse your copyright, find a lawyer.

Irregardless of royalty free photos, royalty free art, royalty free graphics, and all the accessible work on the internet, my photos aren’t free.

Photographs aren’t free


I recently received an email from someone claiming to be a writer for a how-to website. This person stated they wrote articles for the search site and wanted to use one of my images for their article (originally used from one of my Via magazine assignments).


This is normal in the photography industry, and a big reason why I own all of my images (and do not do “Work for Hire” jobs which transfer all image rights to your clients). I grant first-time publishing rights, and once my photos are used by my client, they are part of my image collection, available to license through my company or my stock agency. Some clients think licensing our images is ‘extra money’ but it’s not- it’s simply part of our income as freelance photographers – photographers with no guaranteed source of income, no benefits, no 401K or pension plans.

Getting back to the request, after doing a little research on my own, I come to find out this person was not a writer for the website, nor employee as a writer anywhere else. Instead the site relies on people for their content – it’s like saying you’re a writer for Wikipedia. And not to bash this person since most people aren’t aware of copyright laws, or the licensing fees for a photograph, or the proper way to go about obtaining images – shoot, I’ve had some editors and clients in the past who didn’t necessarily follow the proper way being in the business of licensing images – but pleading ignorance doesn’t necessarily get you off scot-free either.


Then as I researched the how-to site a bit more I learned that my image was ALREADY on the site – with the credit listed as the magazine I originally shot it for! They basically took the image from Via’s website and pasted it into their article.

At this point I had a few options – I could:

1) Contact my copyright lawyer and sue (which is the last thing I would do since mistakes do occur, and I’m not one to stick it to people that way)

2) Send them a bill for licensing, charging them a penalty for illegally using my image (this is more in line with the norm, and completely appropriate since the image was up for at least a week or two).

3) Notify the “writer” and the website were infringing on my copyright with the unauthorized use of my image and to remove it immediately or face a possible lawsuit and licensing fees (which is what I did).

The site removed the image that day, and at first the “writer” was a bit rude but after explaining the law, she relented and apologized. If they made me an offer to pay for the use, I would have looked up the licensing fee in my price guides, and charged them appropriately including the time they had already used it for. If she didn’t apologize, she would have been dealing with my lawyer. The site also tried to claim that they didn’t have control of what members uploaded- wrong- if it’s their site, they SHOULD have control – or they might get sued.

Moral of the story- your photos are exactly that- yours. If you are a professional photographer with your own business, they are not just sitting in your files or computer, they are part of your inventory. I can’t just go and take something off of the shelf at Target, walk out with it, and claim “it was just sitting on your shelf”. A lot of money, time, effort, experience, knowledge, and equipment goes into all of the images I produce- as with any business that has a product to sell. Control your photos – do your homework – purchase pricing guides and/or software like
Fotoquote or Jim Pickerell’s stock guide, and prepare yourself for the day when a client wants to buy one of your images- or one uses an image without asking for permission. And if someone tried to abuse your copyright, find a lawyer.

Irregardless of royalty free photos, royalty free art, royalty free graphics, and all the accessible work on the internet, my photos aren’t free.

Time flies & love blooms when you haven’t blogged


Seconds turned into days turned into weeks- I haven’t blogged for almost a month- crazy.


The past month I shot a few assignments (built an on-location studio for a company in the North Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, capturing 40 food & wine displays), taught an exposure course with a book signing at Book Passage in Corte Madera (a great bookstore in the Marin/ Mill Valley area), licensed some images to a few magazines and clients (a nice double-page spread of a Half Dome image which you’ll see in a few months), worked on two new books which I’m very excited about (out in 2010-2011), and sold five 30×50 prints to recruiting company. All while my girls started school- a busy August.

But what I wanted to write about was something I found out while lecturing at Book Passage. Two past workshop students came to take the class, told me they met at my weekend workshop two years earlier at Pt Reyes, and ended up falling in love- now married- they said, I could add ‘match-maker’ to my list of accomplishments. I was tickled pink (when was the last time you heard that term?!). Actually, it really was a cool thing to hear. As we all go through our daily grinds, move through our busy lives, setting up events, meetings, goals, we rarely consider how it might affect other lives.

When I plan my workshop presentations, I think of all the experience and knowledge I’ve gained through my 19-year career, and how I can add specific images and information into my lectures and field notes to help photographic enthusiasts improve their skills – to help them learn how to communicate with their cameras better. But I don’t think I ever imagined two people meeting at one of my events and deciding to spend the rest of their lives together. It doesn’t seem far fetched, but I just never thought of it.

So here’s to photography bringing more love to the world – in the day and age of glorifying ridiculous rude behavior on tv, where wars continue to tear lives apart, where corporate greed runs rampant, and where a wealthy country like the US can’t find a way to take care of its own, I seems like we could use a bit more love.

eHarmony, eat your heart out.

Time flies & love blooms when you haven’t blogged


Seconds turned into days turned into weeks- I haven’t blogged for almost a month- crazy.


The past month I shot a few assignments (built an on-location studio for a company in the North Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, capturing 40 food & wine displays), taught an exposure course with a book signing at Book Passage in Corte Madera (a great bookstore in the Marin/ Mill Valley area), licensed some images to a few magazines and clients (a nice double-page spread of a Half Dome image which you’ll see in a few months), worked on two new books which I’m very excited about (out in 2010-2011), and sold five 30×50 prints to recruiting company. All while my girls started school- a busy August.

But what I wanted to write about was something I found out while lecturing at Book Passage. Two past workshop students came to take the class, told me they met at my weekend workshop two years earlier at Pt Reyes, and ended up falling in love- now married- they said, I could add ‘match-maker’ to my list of accomplishments. I was tickled pink (when was the last time you heard that term?!). Actually, it really was a cool thing to hear. As we all go through our daily grinds, move through our busy lives, setting up events, meetings, goals, we rarely consider how it might affect other lives.

When I plan my workshop presentations, I think of all the experience and knowledge I’ve gained through my 19-year career, and how I can add specific images and information into my lectures and field notes to help photographic enthusiasts improve their skills – to help them learn how to communicate with their cameras better. But I don’t think I ever imagined two people meeting at one of my events and deciding to spend the rest of their lives together. It doesn’t seem far fetched, but I just never thought of it.

So here’s to photography bringing more love to the world – in the day and age of glorifying ridiculous rude behavior on tv, where wars continue to tear lives apart, where corporate greed runs rampant, and where a wealthy country like the US can’t find a way to take care of its own, I seems like we could use a bit more love.

eHarmony, eat your heart out.