The Grid: The Grid: Episode 27 – Make It Your Own


The Grid is a live talk-show about photography, Photoshop and other industry-related topics. Each week features a different guest (in-studio or online) and viewers are encouraged to chime in on the Liveblog here on or via Twitter by adding #TheGridLive to their tweets.
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Episode Summary

"Make it your own." These four words sum up a very spirited discussion between Scott, RC and the live viewers on whether or not it's ethical to take a picture snapped during a workshop (especially one where the instructor sets up the entire shot) and put it on your professional portfolio as a representative of your body of work to a potential client. Plus, find out how to win a copy of Scott or RC's book and stay to the end for the "Portfolio Blues."

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  1. […] Ok, I hope this one will fire up a “healthy” discussion on Google+ and my blog, so feel free to join on both posts. Normally I don’t have a lot of time to watch my favorite podcasts, but when I’m driving I have time and so yesterday (while driving) it was time to catch up to some “the grid” episodes, don’t worry I just listen while driving. And one episode triggered me to write this blog post, you can find it here :  […]

  2. Paul Filmer says:

    OMG I thought I was the only one that thought this way! Thank you for the interesting discussion!

  3. ALI ERTURK says:

    Hi Guys,
    I loved your show. You should do two episode per week!
    thanks a lot,

  4. Ghassan M. al-harbi says:

    Scott , I FREAKIN’ LOVE YOU MAN !!

  5. This show is always awesome!

  6. Ken z says:

    How do you guys do it? Every show gets better and better….this IS entertainment right??

    You guys are great!

  7. Rickard says:

    Quick question is there any RSS URL to the audio only podcast? Itunes is great if your not running an android device like me.

  8. Bruce Press says:

    Interesting topic. It seems that finding the light and composing the shot is such a large part of the picture it seems wrong to include that in your portfolio. You may have convinced me of this, or it might have been my opinion going in. Not sure. :)

  9. Darin Augustine says:

    Great Episode… ya know, every time I start listening to the Grid… I will start to get mad and think what you guys are talking about is totally wrong and you are just being jerks….
    Then I keep listening and I slowly start to come around and see that you guys are actually making good points, and are really trying to help all of us out…. I appreciate that.. keep up the good work!!!!

  10. Glen says:

    This is simple. Not ok to use that workshop shot. You are learning a skill. Maybe I should put on my portfolio a photo that was added to a course and given so you can edit in Photoshop so it is easier to follow along. Allowing you to do what they are just as they are showing you that technique. Not cool!

  11. Christian says:

    Love the show guys.
    Keep those coolo comments coming :)

  12. Dave Moore says:

    Another great topic! Thanks, guys!

  13. I love the concept of the Grid Live, and never miss an episode.

    Keep up the good work everyone.

  14. Ray says:

    I’m puzzled why on these shows you use huge microphones, and on the others – ps user tv, etc, you do not. The sound quality seems similar

  15. Using an assistant does not invalidate the ownership of your shot. If a client called you to set up a similar shot the next week you might need to bring an assistant but the assistant might need to bring a photographer. Every photographer is capable of assisting on a similar shoot. Every assistant is not capable of being the photographer on a similar shoot.

  16. Kenny Kinter says:

    I only caught the last few minutes live and that was very enjoyable. Thanks guys. I am having a problem downloading for my itouch. Are you guys making it just to rewatch on the iPad now? But seriously. Thanks guys and gals. Look forward to being able to watch it soon.

  17. ARKreations says:

    Outstanding topic and discussion!!!
    Photographic ethics is so under publicized – conversations like this really help bring more credibility to those who commit to integrity and chose to not compromise their principles by taking the easy way to a quick buck!

  18. Shakir Cassimode says:

    It seem like this recent episode from itunes can’t play on my ipod or iphone for some reason. Hope you guys know.

  19. this was an awesome show. I love the “tough love” concept. I think that a portfolio should represent your level of skill. If you cannot recreate an image with the same or greater degree of skill; then the shot is NOT your shot.

  20. Gregory Johnson says:

    I total agree with Scot’s comments on Joe Mcnally’s setup If I am a Guest (freeloader) and the images taken should not to be shown as my own. It is like stealing . If I pay for a workshop and images I click are mine. Look at it , this way , I am paying Joe McNally or any other workshop I attend (with financial help from other photographer attending) to hire models set up light and location and teach.

    Hey why don’t they have the payee sign a release stating that we are not allowed to use any images taken in a workshops for any purpose

    When talking about the Westcott booths it really sounds like their setups are magically done .
    That is the easy part. It what you do in post production that really counts

    Anyways a great show

  21. Wayne Pearson says:

    Looking good

  22. Jim Wall says:

    This show was great. I’m getting ready to set up my portfolio, and now I know what to use, and what not to. Thanks guys.

  23. Don Evan says:

    Be it seminars, tutorials or one on one instruction the idea to me is learn and shoot. To take a shot already completely set up is just copying someone else’s intellectual property. They own the copyright for that exact shot. If you use what you have been taught and apply that to another shot, the property tights are yours.

  24. Ken Lager says:

    Probably the best discussion yet on the grid. I wonder what the poll results would have looked like on the popular photography website….

  25. Lewis Johnston says:

    Your portfolio is the window through which others can see your capabilities and creativity. If you cannot produce a shot yourself, it should not be showcased as your own.

  26. Jan Winther says:

    Scott, RC… you guys are hilarious. Awesome show, awesome topic today.

  27. Bill Guy says:

    Images from workshops are only for you to remember how it was setup.

  28. Mark says:

    Great discussion! There are way too many people who don’t seem to understand what falls under the category of “your work”. It’s actually kind of scary. But then again, if you have a DSLR you can be a pro right??? :)

  29. Anthony Nguyen says:

    Very interesting discussion. As an amateur, I’d feel awkward putting taken at a workshop in my portfolio.
    Thanks for the great show.

  30. Oliver_K says:

    Hi folks,

    greetings from Germany! :) I’m a great fan of your show, because this kind of discussion / sharing tips / dos and don’t s is truly missing right here in good ol’ Germany… ;(

    Thanks for this discussion!! Finally someone spoke out, what I was asking myself on each Workshop. Honestly, if I would “collect” only such images, which someone else has set up and my job would be nothing else than do the “klick!”, I would go so far and say that I’m NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER!!! :))

    Hope to watch you live sometime…

    Greetings and keep up the awesome work!

  31. Bill Araujo says:

    Another thought provoking show. You guys rock! BTW, I just joined NAPP and have been subscribing to Kelby Training. GREAT STUFF!

  32. Shelly says:

    interesting discussion!

  33. Paul Howard says:

    Best comment has to have been RC’s. Post anything you want on your blog. Post stuff you’ve created/composed/imagined on your portfolio. That stuff is what you came up with due to inspiration, example, or a crazy dream.
    Awesome guys, just awesome!

  34. John Havord says:

    Excellent show, one of the best yet.

  35. peace gaddis says:

    wow what a show

  36. Bill Truran says:

    One more thing, I am an adjunct photo prof nights at William Paterson University. For studio lighting I give the kids a hand-out, demonstrate each week’s lighting style and then they have to recreate it during the following week. They learn a lot that way.

  37. Shawn Highfill says:

    Taking credit for the wescott photos or workshop photos would be like the waiter taking credit for Mario Batalli’s dish. Just because he saw Mario create it doesn’t mean he can go home and cook it himself.

    Love the show

    Floof and run

  38. Bill Truran says:

    My shooting is 100% lit by me. Even the fashion is usually sunlit from the back and strobe lit from the front. I once did a shot of the dog Max (really Gracie) from the Grinch movie. It needed a Grinch arm in the shot but the trainer, art director and client were all women. I was the only man and the only one who fit the Grinch costume. I lit the shot with a stand-in and then became the model while the art director fired the camera. I consider the image to be mine because I did all of the work to arrange and light it. Since then I consider the one who pushes the trigger to be inconsequential.

  39. Vern Snow says:

    I really enjoy The Grid. It is a refreshing approach. Please continue !!!

  40. Eric Saar says:

    As usual you have some of the greatest topics and if you ask me I was thinking this way before this show, but now I am feeling good and solid about my view.


  41. For a portfolio image (or a published image) of a model, you should credit anyone involved in the decision processes.

    If you didn’t do the makeup, credit the MUA.

    If you didn’t choose the model, credit the agency.

    If you didn’t choose the wardrobe, credit the stylist.

    If you didn’t do the set design, credit the designer.

    And if you didn’t do the lighting design, credit the lighting designer.

    That doesn’t mean that the participation of any of those people makes the image not yours. You still timed the shot, directed the model, chose the shooting angle, whatever.

    That said, when your list of credits gets long enough, perhaps you should consider what you’re communicating to the people you’re selling yourself to. If you need a team of 10 to make an image, you had better be able to get jobs with the budget for a team of 10. Good luck.

  42. Len Taubman says:

    RC made my point. If on a workshop and you take a photo that the leader does not control, it is your process and sould be able to be put into a portfolio

  43. Hubert says:

    What happened to your site?

    Anyway, still liked the show and keep up the great work.

  44. Great topic:

    Definitions are the main point here. As RC said, “what is a portfolio”. I would ask “what is the job of a photographer”.

    In my opinion the photographer is meant to come up with what is in the photo, concept (composition, light …) and technical (camera settings, lighting …). If you didn’t do that, it’s not yours.

    Portfolio is meant to reflect what you can do. You MUST be able (you are expected) to reproduce the “geniality” of the pictures that are there. If you’re not, this is a cheat.

    BTW, the blues … fantastic 😉

  45. Klaus Binder says:

    Scott and RC your passion for photography is a pleasure to watch. Very thought full subjects.

    One of the best things one ca do is share what we learn and give credit where credit is due.

    I love shooting and love to exchange with other photographers for tips and ideas.

  46. Christian says:

    Keep up the great work guys, interesting topics and a truck load of fun.

  47. Rich Ramirez says:

    Scott and R.C did a great show. You guys rock .
    I LOVE THE GRID!!!!!

  48. CJ says:

    “I got the portfolio blues” hahaha

    Fun episode – laughed so many times!

  49. Joshua Dockins says:

    Great episode. It has inspired me to create an entire portfolio from iStock. I figure since I paid for them they are mine. I should have a professional level portfolio by the weekend. Looks like I am going pro!

  50. Dana says:

    Great show. Thanks.

  51. Susan Peden says:

    I think that using a shot set up by someone else in my portfolio would show a lack of respect for myself and my own work. If it’s good or it is bad, it is mine.

  52. Tony Rouzer says:

    I agree, it is not your work. Don’t put it in your folio. Great show.

  53. John says:

    The copyright part is enough to test your thinking on what REALLY is yours & what ain’t – regardless if you pressed the shutter.

  54. Steve Miller says:

    Great show. Totally agree with the point Scott and RC were trying to make. I usually don’t go to workshops. The reason is because for me I learn best from books. That is why I have a whole shelf full of books from Kelby Training. I already have RC’s book on getting your photos on the web and it is fantastic. I do not have the Light it, Shoot it , Retouch it book yet.

  55. John Ashmore says:

    Hi guys great show,lots of fun.

  56. Corey says:

    This was a great show, Have to agree that if someone does all the creative work and all you do is push a button, then you shouldn’t put that in your portfolio. Loved the Portfolio Blues, keep your day job though

  57. Jim J says:

    I have been wondering this with one of the works I did from PSW. I have decided to use it as an example of a composite and not of portrait photography. It is on the Westcott contest page.

    Since the “image” is now a construction, I feel like I can include it.

  58. Will Howard says:

    Great topic!

    Scott, Tell your son, my wife and I are going to see Disciple with MercyMe and Hawk Nelson in Fort Wayne, IN on 11/05/11. They are on a roadshow. I’ll be thinking of him while we’re there!

    Wish I could to catch this live. :-(

  59. Eric says:

    Great show and interesting topic.

  60. kc carlson says:

    Great show thanks for posting it. Great comments, I liked what RC kept referring to—just because someone hands you the reel one time doesn’t mean that you can land that trophy fish again by on your own. Be honest and only show what you can deliver.

  61. Andy says:

    Good show like always.

  62. Frank Eng says:

    Nice show and hope that I can get a ticket to scett show on S F next week.

  63. Nir Livni says:

    Guys, this was by FAR the best show yet. The topic was so relevant. We want more!

  64. Martin Shipps says:

    Thanks for another great topic again!

  65. Ed Carlos says:

    Good show!

    • Pablo says:

      this show was very helpful. i looked at my portfolio and i dont have any “workshop photos” in it. but didnt find anything misleading saying it was my shot … UNTIL NOW. thank you for opening my eyes . im hooked on this show like brad is hooked on hookers and pot lol.

  66. Evan Cohen says:

    your site is showing up in Google listing as harmful to your computer . suspected malware site ??? woth checking out…. good luck. Unfortunatley google holds the cards

  67. james says:

    great show! keep it up! 😛

  68. Frank Effrece says:

    great show and vocal music..

  69. Michael says:

    If all you do is push the button, its not really your work.

    Google is saying you have malware on your site. Chrome threw up a warning page.

  70. monkeyinabox says:

    Interesting take on your portfolio and images from workshops and Photoshop World booths. I really haven’t attended many of either, so I don’t have that issue, but I can’t imagine thinking that if someone else does all the work and says “stand here and press the button”, you could feel like it was “your work”.

  71. Skip Wolff says:

    Better then Prime Time. Thanks

  72. Great show guys!

    A lot of people don’t get the difference… shooting at a workshop- yes, the image is legally yours, you hold the copyright because you fired the shutter.

    That doesn’t mean it’s ethical to use it in a portfolio or for a contest. It is at least partially misrepresenting yourself unless you really have learned enough to recreate that image on your own.

    • RON says:

      it belongs to the one who gets it to copyright office first.

      A portfolio should contain and represent only the photographers complete work and not from some class he/she took to improve or learn new skills.
      Thats cheap to include photos from a workshop tat the model,lighting and software is provided for learning. The one exception would be a landscape workshop.

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