Utah’s Ag-Gag Law Prosecuting Photographers

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Tips, Utah

This is a really interesting topic for local Utah photographers: The Ag-Gag Law. Utah is one of the few states that prohibits people to take pictures of local agricultural operations, including farms, ranches or slaughterhouses. Be warned, it is not only illegal to take these pictures, but if you are caught possessing them, you can be punished.

In fact, Amy Meyer is a woman who was charged for filming a slaughterhouse. She drove by the location in Draper, Utah and was astounded at what she saw so she started to video the scene from her smart phone.
After being told to stop by the property owner and the police, and saying she was in her right because she was on public property, a fact disputed, she found out she was being charged. This was the first prosecution of this kind of case in the country, so it went viral. The charges against Meyer were dropped because she was deemed to be on public ground.

This is the exception: the law only applies to photos taken while trespassing. That way, if a school group visits a local farm, or if you are on public property, there is no fear of the images captured during these visits.

The reasoning behind the law is to protect farmers, ranchers and food processors from unfair representation, while many people argue this will prevent journalism or animal-cruelty-whistleblowers.

Whatever the reasoning, Utah photographers should be aware of the limitations to their rights, especially when trying to find new or interesting locations to shoot.

What do you think? Is this law excessive or does this make sense?

May Photography Opportunities in Utah

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Tips, Utah

Good news! Spring is here and it’s an amazing time for the photography opportunities. Once again, I will provide you a list of Utah-based events that you can use as a photographer. Please share any events I may have missed.

Cotton Days – Washington City, Utah April 26-May 4
The season of Utah rodeos has started! If you’re in Southern Utah check out the Cotton Days events. There are youth dances, fun runs, a car show, cotton-themed events and so much more. It should be a blast and get your spring started right. Learn more about it here.

Provo Rooftop Concert Series – Provo, Utah May 4
If you’ve never heard of the Rooftop Concert Series, it can be compared to a more intimate version of the Salt Lake Twilight Concerts. They happen the first Friday of the month throughout the warmer months. The first one of the year is May 4 at the Central Bank parking terrace and will feature Desert Noises, The Blue Aces and Caleb Darger. Learn more here.

Utah Pasifika Festival 2013 – Provo, Utah May 17-19
Downtown Provo will be hosting an multi-Polynesian event at which there will be food, dance and culture. If you’ve never seen the Haka performed live, do yourself a favor and go check out this event. Find more information here.

Moab Art Festival – Moab, Utah May 25-26
The awesome thing about this festival is you can still be a part of it! This year celebrates 21 years of this local art festival, with everything from photography and sculpture to food and clothing. Admission is free for, but if you are interested in setting up shop check out the link. Southern Utah is one of the most unique places in the world, both geographically and historically. Definitely check out this event.

The end of May is also Memorial Day weekend. Don’t forget!

KSL Monthly Photography Contest

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Tips, Utah

As a website dedicated to Utah photographers, Utah Photography is pleased to keep you up-to-date on opportunities to promote your work! Every month KSL hosts a photography competition, the winners of which are then compiled into a calendar. Pretty sweet, right? Submit your photos and vote for the winners here.


Here is one photo submitted by Michael Boman of Salt Lake County.

Sometimes the hardest part of monthly photography contests is finding inspiration. Utah state is full of beautiful photography opportunities, but it’s easy to miss the beauty that is right in front of you everyday. To help you out, here are some photography opportunities in Utah this spring.

April Photo Opportunities in Utah

Alta in April – Alta Ski Resort, UT
April 1 – April 14, 2013
Alta Ski Resort is known for its snow and skier only atmosphere. As a spring skiing special, the first two weeks of April are full of deals and lessons and events. Grab your camera and take advantage of the spring lighting to get some fantastic end-of-the-season pictures whether of skiers or from the top of the mountain.

Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival – Thanksgiving Point, UT
April 3 – April 28, 2013
The Tulip Festival is an annual tradition that draws thousands of visitors. It is a great opportunity to practice your macro photography techniques on the fields of flowers and the competition blooms. Because the campus is large, and they offer fun food music and drinks, it’s perfect for family photos or individual portraits. Bring the family and reward a successful sitting with a picnic surrounded by 10 variants of flowers.

Lamb and Wool Festival – Thanksgiving Point, UT

April 20, 2013
Once again, Thanksgiving Point delights us by offering a day dedicated to lambs and spring. Come capture frolicking lambs and goats or the presentations of traditional sheering techniques. We’d really like to see pictures of that, let us know how you capture that.

Extreme Rhythm Clogging  – Thanksgiving Point, UT
April 20, 2013
Not really sure how much more of an explanation I can give for this that is better than the title itself. The possibilities provided by the movement and color of clogging is an opportunity that should not be passed up.


What other events do you recommend for the April?

The Camera Club of New York

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Tips

Remember how neat the Aperture Photography Community is? It was founded in 1950s, which is now “vintage” and therefore awesome, and it’s a location for photographers to gather, meet and encourage each other.

The Camera Club of New York is a similar group, except if was founded in 1884 and has connections to some of the most influential photographers and famous photographs in American history. It has helped push forward photography techniques like the autochrome process (one of the earliest color photography) and x-ray photography.

Members of the Camera Club have access to studio space and developing equipment in addition to exhibitions and lectures. There are also classroom opportunities where you can learn about changes in the industry and interact with other dedicated artists.

It’s really important to be aware of these kinds of photographer networking organizations for a couple reasons:

  1. Photography captures the interaction between humans and their surroundings. What better way to develop and practice than to surround yourself with people trying to accomplish the same goal? Surround yourself with photography and photography will surround you.
  2. Photography is not a dead art. It is constantly changing; the technology, the styles, the fashion. Stay on top of the changes and progress personally.
  3. Photographers are awesome. You can find and hang out with awesome people.

I know there are more reasons, what are your favorite ones?

Utah Photographers and the Rio Tinto Center

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Tips, Utah

If you haven’t had the chance to go visit the new Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto center, I recommend you go. It’s full of interesting exhibits about different aspects of Utah history, nature and geography housed in an architecturally fascinating location. The building just is Utah and it’s surroundings are rustic and a beautiful photography session backdrop.

Just check out that picture. It’d be a perfect Utah location for senior portraits or a family photo when all the grand-kids are in town! Because there’s enough interest between Utah photographers and the Rio Tinto Center, the Museum has set up a Utah Portrait Photography request page.

The building is new enough this is still a fairly well kept secret, so I recommend you book your portrait schedule before it becomes the next big Utah photography trend!

Utah Photography Education Options

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Remember how I announced my belief in the power of Utah photography education? As a follow-up, here are some traditional (and online) classroom options for learning to be a better photographer, from newbie to expert.

Salt Lake Community College

Salt Lake Community College offers two variations of photography classes for Salt Lake City photographers. The Continued Education program offers both in-person and online classes. I offer you the link, but warn you the website is pretty crappy so good luck.

SLCC also offers three other options: two certificates and an Associate’s degree in the Visual Arts and Design program with an emphasis on photography. You can find more information here.


Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University offers a variety of options: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Post-baccalaureate certificate and a Master’s degree. BYU’s art school is large and competitive with a good price tag. If you are ready to dedicate the time, it is worth the effort.
Check out the BYU photo blog for some more insight.


Weber State University

Weber State offers the most in photography education with seven options: Three certificates, an Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Post-baccalaureate certificate and a Master’s degree. The program does not require an application so it is a larger program. Definitely check it out.



The Art Institute of Salt Lake City

As a local location of the Art Institute, one can take a chose from a variety of foci within the photography world. It currently offers four options: Two certificates, an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree. The program offers open houses, so be on the lookout!


Southern Utah University

SUU’s fine arts program holds the distinction is as the only accredited Utah state higher education photography program. It offers a variety of tools and clubs to its students. For you southern Utah photographers, this is a good choice.

Photography Schools in Utah

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While I think it is possible to teach yourself how to use a camera and take good pictures, I am a very strong advocate for formal photography training. Before everyone gets upset about spouts off the talents of their favorite camera-toting neighbor, let me give you my reason: There’s a world of difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.

I know, I know that makes me sound like this guy.


But really, a picture is an image while a photograph is a piece of art. Yes, this art be learned through a life-time of study, practice and work but then you’re at the end of your career and you’ve just started making photographs. Skip the wasted time. Find someone who has dedicated their life to the art and learn from them.

Proof I’m right? Professional photographers still exist today despite the fact everyone owns at least one type of camera. Why hire a professional photographer to take your child’s graduating senior portraits if you have a camera that works just fine? Because they were taught the techniques of the trade. Those talents are second nature and they can capture beautiful anniversary pictures for all occasions in unique and interesting ways.

A formal education does not necessarily have to be in a classroom setting, though I will argue that’s probably the best. In that spirit, we will be spotlighting a couple photography schools in Utah. Check back for those posts and take the time to learn how to really make pictures. (But please don’t be like Mr. Douchebag Photographer up there.)

Until then, let the professional photographs take care of your photography needs.

The Rise of Fine Art Photography

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Blog, Tips

Good news! Photography, as a fine art, is slowly increasing in value. Traditionally fine art photography prints are not valued as highly as art of other media, but that’s starting to change.

According to a study by ArtTactic, the consumer confidence levels of fine art are more positive than negative in terms of photography, and the prices of modern art are expected to increase moving forward.

I was impressed by this study. Cameras, and professional photographers, are everywhere. (Don’t believe me? Google “Utah photographers” and see how many pages of people come up.) Perhaps the increase in picture-taking availability means there is a higher level of appreciation for it as an art-form. Whatever the cause, elite photography can no longer be viewed as a dying craft.

If you’re interested in the full study you can find it here. What do you think about the opinions of the experts?

Photographer Tips: Really Care

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Tips

Have you ever taken pictures of something (or someone!) you really did not like? They always seem to turn out like this:

Uncomfortable and just plain bad.

Everyone has to develop his of her own tricks for getting into a productive groove, but one of the quickest ways is to really care about your subject. If your photographing local Utahns, learn about their likes, dislikes and interesting talents: Are they a “Y” or a “U” fan? Do you know the difference between a pictographs and a petroglyphs?

If your subject is an inanimate object, do your research. Check out some of the Utah exhibits at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the new Rio Tinto Center. You will understand Utah and its wonders in a way that will help you capture them in a new light.

What other photographer tips do you have for inspiring creativity and taking awesome pictures even when you aren’t in the mood?


*Photo credits to AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com.

Scuba Santa: The Ultimate Christmas Card

Written by Utah Photography on . Posted in Tips, Utah

Yes, you saw that right. Santa Claus in a fish tank.

If you’re going to be around West Jordan, UT today between noon and six go take your picture with Scuba Santa at the Sport Chalet. The publicity says you don’t need any snorkeling experience so if you want some neat pictures for a really unique Christmas card, you know what to do. Let’s be honest, you can’t beat that.

And if you do go, send us a copy of the picture!