This week we would like you to meet photographer and small business owner Allegra Anderson.
What was the inspiration behind becoming a creator? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
My creative journey started while growing up in Connecticut with free-spirited parents who instilled a love of the arts and food, and fueled my creativity and passion for life. Looking back, I always knew I should be in a career in the visual arts. Even in high school I shaped my own curriculum and spent so much time in the darkroom my supportive teachers counted it toward academic credit. When I searched for the right college to continue my education, I decided to study photography, filmmaking, and media communications at Tufts University.
The creative process is tricky… it’s both difficult and rewarding, like any challenge in life. It starts with an idea… a spark. Something comes to you, either naturally or through a creative process, and you build upon it. Seeing an idea come to life, and watching people react to it in a meaningful way is addictive.
Can you take us through your creative process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
Typically my work for my clients and my unpaid personal projects are separate, but a personal project can often inspire or inform a paid project. A personal project gives you the freedom to explore something that you haven’t had an opportunity to explore with your clients.
I usually get my best ideas when I am showering, cooking, doing breathwork / meditation, or collaborating with other creatives and clients. I can tell you one thing — I never get my ideas while I’m sitting at my desk or staring at a screen. Being in nature or being part of a group of thinkers is when the magic happens. I love to bounce ideas off other people and see how a snowball effect can happen.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
The biggest misconception is that I take photos and deliver them, and that’s all I do. I work very hard to show the value of what I do — it goes beyond showing up, taking a photo, and delivering it. I am both a photographer and a business owner. Being a photographer goes beyond snapping a camera — there is production and planning, creative thinking, and years of education, just to name a few. We wear many hats and when we’re not taking photos, we are handling all the other things that go into it. That is why licensing is so important — people aren’t just hiring us to produce a photoshoot, take the photos and deliver them. They are hiring us for our creativity, which is uniquely our own, and also paying for the use of the images that are relative to the scope of the work.
When did you first become aware of copyright, and why?
I have always been aware of the concept of copyright, but I officially started caring about it when I decided to start my own business. At that time, I had to educate myself about the correct ways to approach copyright and protect my own work.
Have you experienced copyright infringement and, if so, how has it affected you personally and financially?
Yes, I have been a victim of copyright infringement. One of my printed pieces of work was taken, copied, and used across many platforms. It was copyrighted work, however, it wasn’t cost effective to sue the person. I would have lost money.
What do you do when you encounter someone stealing something you’ve invested your intellect, time and money into?
I try to handle the situation respectfully by contacting the person / business first. Any time you can handle the situation without sueing is a win. Thankfully, I am also a part of The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), a trade organization that educates and counsels photographers like myself. They also advocate for photographers, videographers and other creatives — currently they are working on the CASE act.
What is the best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
Have a strong contract that outlines the usage of your content, and register your work for copyright.
What is your biggest copyright-related challenge?
Right now, the biggest copyright-related challenge is being able to take legal action in a way that is financially viable — only being able to sue someone for copyright infringement in federal court can be cost prohibitive. That’s why creators like me urgently need the CASE Act.
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