Flexfill

Posts tagged ‘Quest Couch’:

We Photographers Need to Protect Intellectual Property — But Not in the Way You Might Expect

Flexfill: Still proudly made in the USA

Thirty years ago, we introduced collapsible lighting reflectors to America. Our Flexfill® products, still being made in our own US-based workshop by our own staff, are used by many thousands of still, video, and motion picture photographers all over the world.

But as I found out the hard way, having a great registered trademark for a fine product isn’t enough to keep the knock-off jackals at bay. There are a lot of copies of Flexfill reflectors out there, coming from offshore and produced with varying levels of quality. I’m always pleased when we hear from shooters who have used the same Flexfills for 10 or 20 years.

My good friend of many years, Quest Couch, has had (like me) a long career both as a photographer and as the founder and president of an innovative photographic products company. Many of you know the name LumiQuest, which has been one of the great innovators in accessories for flash photography. Recognizing the increasing and continuing abuse of intellectual property rights which apply to creative work, like photographs, and to physical products, such as those used by photographers every day, Quest has launched a website www.QuestForRights.org and produced a video that you should take about three minutes to watch.

Many years ago, I was asked to submit a portfolio for the annual report of a major international bank. In the initial meeting with the art director and the design firm, I was shown a dummy version of what they were hoping to produce for their client. I recall being asked if I could produce images with a similar look and feel to the sample. At the time, I was more amused than angry because more than half the pictures in the dummy presentation were mine, clipped from other projects I had photographed.

I have always worked hard to protect my rights to the pictures I’ve made over the past 45 years, and yet I know (as do most shooters) that in the digital world, images and text are routinely taken and used without payment or permission. I consider it a point of pride that we continue to manufacture our signature products here in America at a uniformly high level of quality, rather than take shortcuts. So here’s to Quest Couch and his new effort to build awareness and action on saving what many of us work very hard to build.

LumiQuest and Joe McNally at PDN PhotoPlus 2010

Quest Couch of LumiQuest at PDN PhotoPlus 2010

“These are really exciting times for small flash photography.”

So says Quest Couch, a good friend and the co-founder, with Heidi Kenny, of LumiQuest. Based in Texas, LumiQuest has for many years been the leader in accessories for small flash units. They have always been committed to “products that work, rather than gimmicks that sell.” Maybe that’s why Quest and I have always gotten along so well; here at Visual Departures, that’s our mission, too.

Quest and I spent some time watching Joe McNally do a live demo at the Nikon booth to a standing-room-only crowd; like many shooters, Joe makes the LumiQuest products a key part of his location lighting equipment package. Quest has done a number of short and very instructive videos on LumiQuest’s website. No matter how long you have been shooting, spend some time on their site — you’ll learn a lot in a short time. Joe McNally’s blog should be in your bookmarks as well, as he explains the nuts and bolts of his masterful photos.