WEIRDLAND: Celebrity Reputation Management: What Stephen Finfer Can Teach Rising Stars

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrity Reputation Management: What Stephen Finfer Can Teach Rising Stars

Stephen Finfer, the CEO of Arthouse Entertainment and a professional photographer, promotes the importance of the right photo in creating a lasting impression on viewers.

The speed of modern communications has created an interesting dilemma for celebrities who depend upon public good will to retain their status or to maintain their upward mobility. These well-known individuals are pursued by amateur photographers and journalists on a continual basis. Any unguarded moment or temporary lack of glamor can have a serious impact on career prospects and public perception of established stars and aspiring celebrities. Implementing a proactive reputation management strategy can provide protection against unwanted publicity and can create a positive perception of celebrities at all stages of their career.

Establishing a Baseline

For aspiring celebs, building a portfolio of online information and photographs can help to blunt the effects of bad press if and when it occurs. As the CEO of Arthouse Entertainment and a professional photographer whose work has appeared in In Touch, People and Us magazines, Stephen Finfer understands the importance of the right photo in creating a lasting impression on viewers. “Photos can be so powerful. Capturing a moment can appear so simple, yet have such depth and complexity,” Finfer notes. The art of capturing a single iconic moment and using that moment to define the career of a public figure is a critical element in celebrity success.

Retaining Rights

Another element that can impact the career paths of aspiring actors, musicians and performers is the amount of control over photographic representations retained by the rising star or established celebrity. In most cases, the rights to the photographs and negatives remain with the photographer. Unless those rights are clearly transferred to the client in the contract documents, celebrities can be subject to the release of less flattering photos at any point during their careers. These unpleasant surprises can derail the prospects of added work for younger stars and can create public relations nightmares for those who have already made a name for themselves in the movie, television or music industries.

Negotiating a Workable Solution

Stephen Finfer began his career in the legal field before shifting his focus to entertainment and photography. His eclectic experience has provided him with a unique perspective on the challenges facing celebrities in the modern online marketplace. As a result, Finfer and other photographers offer an alternative to the traditional model in which publication rights remain with the photography studio. By surrendering these rights to the subject of the photos as part of the contractual agreement, these photographers can establish a higher degree of trust for novices to the celebrity world and can offer valuable peace of mind to established stars of stage, screen and performance venue.

When the Damage Is Done

Even the most careful celebrities can occasionally fall victim to an unscripted moment or an unfortunate public appearance. Creating a counterbalance to bad press can sometimes shift the focus away from the faux pas and on to the next opportunity or career move for the star. By generating increased attention for movie roles, concert appearances or other upcoming performances, celebrities and their agents can minimize the damage caused by these unfortunate incidents. A controversial but tasteful photo shoot, an impromptu guest appearance or the tried-and-true charity fundraiser can be useful tools in the reputation management toolkit for these public figures.

The best advice for managing public reputation issues, of course, is to avoid bad publicity and seek out opportunities for good press mentions. Maintaining a backup plan is critical, however, to ensure career longevity and to deal with these challenges as they arise.

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