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A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things by Dan Heller

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INTRODUCTION: How We Got Here

INTRODUCTION: How We Got Here
INTRODUCTION: How We Got Here

Let's review what's happened so far. First the Earth cooled. Then photography was invented. Then the Internet came into our lives, and crawled its way into our collective cultures. Then came volumes of user-generated content, which has reshaped the way people interact with the world. Then came advances in digital photography that made it possible for everyday people to produce images that were once done only by professionals. And then finally, peanut butter meets chocolate: The Internet and photography joined to create not just a new wave of interest in the art, but the social networking aspects have also given rise to new business opportunities for nonprofessional photographers ("consumers").

Just about anyone with a camera and an Internet connection can and does engage in the business of photography and make money, and they're doing so in rising numbers. Some embark into the business only for the fun and excitement of making mad money, while others are looking to build a new career.

Of all the ways to make money in photography, the granddaddy of them all is stock photography: the licensing of photos to others who use them in publications, toy packaging, ads, posters, and so on. It's the fastest growing segment of the broader photo industry for several reasons: ...

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