Commissions and Enquiries

It will not be possible here to address all of the questions which might arise concerning commissions but we will at least try to cover some of the generalities.

Firstly what is a commission? This is where a church or other organisation specifically contracts with us to take photographs of a window or windows for a pre-agreed fee. Typically we would offer to produce negatives, which would be our property, and from those we would have prints made according to what has been agreed and we would normally also provide digital files for use online or on PC via a CD. The latter would not normally be at resolutions suitable for printing but those could be provided at additional cost.

Why would an organisation want to commission photographs of its stained glass? Several reasons come to mind. Firstly in the event of fire or other catastrophe, in the absence of any good photographic record, the loss is total and complete. We believe that the custodians of these treasures have a duty to create a permanent record, for posterity. Secondly an increasing number of organisations and places of worship are going online. Photographs of stained glass uniquely lend themselves to on-screen presentation, it is how they are meant to be viewed, with lighting from behind and against a darkened surround. What better way to brighten up a website than to use it also as another means of presenting the art of the church or other organisation? Thirdly, in case of damage or loss where there is a chance of repair photographs could be helpful in planning and executing such repairs. We must emphasise that complete photographic coverage with a view to repair or restoration is a major undertaking and is well beyond the scope of a normal commission but even the results of a normal commission could be very helpful from a restoration point of view. Lastly, we also passionately believe in making this art available to as many people in the world as possible and would like to enourage others to contribute to this goal.

In addition to those very good reasons the availability of good quality pictures of the stained glass opens up all kind of possibilities which may include fund-raising opportunities. People might be prepared to buy prints, with profits going to the organisation. Greetings cards or notelets featuring the art might be produced and the art may be usable in leaflets and on posters and other things where pictures can be used.

Why should you pay to have this done? Excellent question! Firstly, if you have a competent and well-equipped photographer in your ranks have him do it for you. There is a technique to it and it is important that he or she have the right equipment but this is not rocket-science. Personally I use a 35mm set-up which includes a heavy tripod and some long (200-500mm) lenses but other rigs can work as well or better. Scaffolding and ladders have long been the traditional means of doing this work but none of the pictures on this website have employed the use of anything more than camera, lenses and tripod.

If you are in New Jersey or New York there is a chance that I may offer to shoot your windows on a no-fee basis but there is a limit to how much of this I can do because film, processing and scanning all cost money and this does not include the time involved. The more paid commissions I can undertake the more unpaid ones I can consider.

What will it cost us? That is rather like asking 'How long is a piece of string?'. It will depend on a number of factors including but not limited to the number and size of the windows to be shot, the number and size of prints requested, whether digital files are needed and so on. However, we fully realise that many of the organisations we are dealing with have very limited cash resources and we do what we can to keep our costs to a minimum and offer real value to our paying clients.

Who has the copyright? Copyright always defaults to the photographer unless there is specific agreement to the contrary. We would generally expect to grant the organisation who commissions us certain rights to use the images produced for their own publication purposes both in print and electronically. From our side we would expect the client to agree to let us publish the work produced.

Where can commissions be undertaken? The answer to this one is 'Perhaps further away than you think'.
While distance and cost are certainly issues we encourage and welcome all enquiries. Business and personal travel is often international and so what might at first appear to be an unlikely prospect could turn out to be viable.

The bottom line is please feel free to contact us with whatever questions you may have. Try to provide us with as much background information as possible when you do make enquiries and we will try our best to respond quickly and helpfully.