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The New Adobe Lightroom CC. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

The New Adobe Lightroom CC. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

I’ve been a long time Lightroom user. I’m familiar with shortcut keys, the multi-screen set-up consistent with other Adobe CC products, and I’ve got some high end camera outputs that I put in to the Adobe ecosystem.

This post will discuss the following:

  • Embracing mobility and using the iPad to import and manage pictures
  • Using Lightroom on my Mac
  • Using Lightroom on my iPad

While many people wont jump into Lightroom with such a iPad focus, I kinda had to. My main work Mac was in the shop getting some work.

IF YOU DON’T CARE about iPads click me to hide/toggle the iPad stuff.

Background & recent workflow history

I’ve been traveling around Asia for over a year and my workflow is rather complicated. I’ve got my main Mac where I store my working files, I’m traveling with over 12 terabytes of storage. One of which is a Apple TimeMachine backup. Another harddrive is a manual archive of previous Lightroom Catalogues, along with a back-up archive of that. My Mac’s got a good SSD, but I need more space. I’m also shooting timelapse videos (all from raw images), and I’m also doing plenty of stills. The timelapse shots go in their own Lightroom Catalogue – they don’t belong among my stills. Occasionally I’m shooting video, but not much. I was also using a Lightroom Catalogue to manage my videos. My Sony A7R2 is awesome, and produces some seriously big 42 files. I knew jumping to Adobes Lightroom CC ‘of the future’ (in fact, Lightroom of today) was going to introduce some workflow hurdles, but I’m willing to give things a real go. And what better way to start than my time in Malaysia with a new Lightroom CC Catalogue. So here it is. About a month in.

Of this recent update, I see where Adobe are going with Photography. But it’s not quite ready for the main-stage for serious users.

New Lightroom process – Importing with the iPad Pro

My Malaysia photography workflow has been a full jump in the Adobe CC Lightroom CC ecosystem (how you say that?). To really help me make that leap, I have decided to use my iPad Pro Lightroom CC as the core means of managing and transferring my photos. My Macbook was in repair and thought this is an ideal mobile-first use-case and justification. Honestly, it’s really cool. My iPad fits in more bags than my laptop, the battery is awesome and the screen is wonderful*. And all my pictures are stored online, backed-up using Adobe’s best in-class security (we’ll ignore they were hacked a couple years back, huh?)

* Keen in mind that at night, iPad – as can your Mac – screen tones change (with Night Shift) and that can make colour processing a joke if you get it right at night then look at it in the day.

But the work flow just ain’t quite right. There’s dongles (welcome to the Apple ecosystem), importing then re-importing (from Apple Photos to Lightroom), duplicate files and then associated file management. That said, this process could be used to advantage. I’ll explain. Oh yeah, slow internet.

So, you shoot plenty of pixels on your camera. More than you need. Previewing on your camera is not totally reliable (small screen doesn’t always show if your picture is sharp – for example). Plus deleting pictures on your camera can be slow and risky. Turning dials, pressing menu buttons, over and over… Delete the wrong one? There’s no undo or recycle bin here (not without serious headaches).

Doing an import dump from your camera to an iPad means you’re transferring them to a big-screen device and allows for much, much better reviews. But this presented an issue. All my pictures were pixelated. From 42 megapixel images?

My shooting is 100% raw. I’ve not seen the need for JPEG sidecar files (you know, RAW + JPEG), until now – and JPEG shooting in general? Not since I’ve known a little more about what I’m doing… It seems that without the sidecar files, Apple Photos on the iPad doesn’t render the ARW file, but the tiny embedded thumbnail – which is pixelated to hell. So, now I’m shooting with sidecar JPEG files. Not a major thing, but without them, you can’t really review your pictures and determine if they are sharp. But it’s adding file-size weight to every picture.

Now, I’ve got a great device in the iPad Pro which can allow me to really review my pictures. I delete the non preferred shots, then I’ve got a gallery which I’m happy with. From here, I’ve got to now import them to Lightroom CC.

Double the files

Yep, import twice. Once to the iPad. Once to Lightroom CC. You can’t import direct to Lightroom. But this is where the workflow can have some advantages, if you really look for them. But now, I’ve got two sets of the same images; one in Apple Photos, one in Lightroom. And as soon as they go in Lightroom CC, off they get synced to my 100GB cloud storage. I can pause syncing – if I need. But all imported files head on up to the Adobe servers. And then they sync to my other devices – mobile phone, and now, Lightroom CC on my Mac.

But there’s a little advantage

This little Apple Photos holding zone is such you get to do a good review before importing them. Which then will subsequently block whatever network your own syncing gigabyes in files. Each picture, if a compressed RAW, is 40 odd megabytes. Uncompressed RAW is 80 megabytes. I’m shooting compressed RAW, so if I import 20 pictures – which is pretty normal, I’ve just uploaded almost 1 gigabyte, without really thinking about it. It’s a big payload. Someone else watching netflix? They can wait…

And it’s then all backed up. No running around with extra hard-drives yay! You’ve just now got to delete your Apple Photos. It would be nice if an import in Lightroom could delete the source files, but that’s that.

Wrapping up imports

If you’re disciplined and import pictures to Lightroom and delete them from your Apple Photos catalogue, you could have a pretty robust workflow if you’ve got good internet. But if you cherry pick a couple photos to import, leave them in your Apple Photos catalogue, then -say – get a coffee and forget it. You can get into file management hell, where you’ve some pictures in Lightroom, some in your iPad, and then you need to trash them or just live with the fact your iPad is gonna run out of space. It’s a bit cumbersome.

Using Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC on the Mac

Straight off the bat, it’s super similar to Lightroom CC on the iPad / Android (and the super-cool, and much less like Lightroom CC Classic. It’s currently version 1.1 and it feels like it, whereas Lightroom Classic CC is version 7.1 – and it feels like it’s had a good 6 versions prior.

Import workflows

There’s no drag and drop with the new Lightroom CC. And that’s a pain. And there’s no import dialogue window other than the native OS X ‘Add file’ window. No options to see what’s already been imported to avoid duplicates. Really, there are no options. But that said, once you add in a file, it’s there and will sync up to the server. And each file might be BIG, so make sure you’ve got a good data connection. But for a little more on this exact and import(ant) topic, watch this little thing…

Edit: Jan 22.

In another frustrating discovery, I’ve realised that importing files directly from a SD card will drag in both the RAW image as well as the sidecar JPG file. Yet another disapointment.

Multiscreen productivity

Something I’m very famiialr with across Adobe software is multi-screen support. But not here. No idea why, but something I used a lot – it’s just gone. Not a show-stopped, but it’s a cross.

Edit in…

Like much of Lightroom CC, less is, well, less. No sign of edit with HDR Effects Pro – for example. My Lightroom Classic was pretty well integrated with third party (and Adobe, for that matter) software. I can still edit in Photoshop, but not much more than that is easily supported. I think I need to export as a new file, open elsewhere, edit away, re-import. Clunky turd…


Presets seem much less of a focus in the new Lightroom, but have their place and do their job. Reason for the mention is for the contrast against the mobile version. Let me just say; I can make them on the desktop version. No step forward against Classic, no step back.

Panoramic stitching

It’s not here either. Not a request by any stretch, but it’s not there. I loved this. Big backward step.

Spot removal / Heal tools

They are still here. Thankfully. If they weren’t, it would be see-ya-later. And these setting DO sync up with the iPad / mobile versions.

Keyboard shortcuts

I lived for quick fixes in Lightroom Classic CC. “Q” – I’m right in my spot removal tool. Not in the new Lightroom CC. It’s now “H”. Tab, Shift Tab, “F”, Shift “F” – they are all a little different.

I understand these things change, but they take a bit of getting used to when workflows are so established. In Adobe’s defence, they do highlight short-cuts when you hover over.

Adding Metadata

This is a big one. And a geeky one. But this is really important to me…

First up, I do love that it all syncs up across devices. I can add keywords, tags, titles, copyright – whatever – on my mobile or iPad when I’m on the loo (for example). But it doesn’t seem as obvious as Lightroom Classic. I don’t understand why Keywords has it’s own section, whereas info has it’s own. To me, they are really part of the same workflow. Just a minor pain, where I see this as a minor back-step.

Another little feature that was (is) super handy in Lightroom Classic CC is the auto-fill of metadata when you start filling it in. If I’m in the Copyright field, for example, and I start typing “Steve…” – it should fill out “Steven Wright”, huh?

Exporting For the Web & SEO – Using Metadata

A big reason for all the metadata is to help with you being able to sort and find your own work. But in addition to that, it’s really good data to include IN the file for use online. Copyright, contact details, etc, are very valuable. But on the SEO front, a key feature I used 100% of the time was ‘export as’ where I could use the image title as the file name, as well as my name in the file name. For example, “Petrona Towers – by Steven Wright.jpg”. But now? Can’t do it. Seriously, a big shortcoming. All I’ve got is the original filename, and no options for either include, exclude or anything on the meta-data front.

A massive step back from Lightroom Classic – especially on the SEO front.

When it comes to me living the other part of my life (as a digital freelancer), being able to SEO optimise images EASILY was a real feather in my cap. Now, it’s seriously taken a back step. Not happy with this. This is another reason that I can’t fully commit to Lightroom CC.

Note: Despite the issues around metadata, it’s still stored in your files. But it’s not what I want…

When you import a file to wordpress, that’s exported from Lightroom, fields such as caption and title are pre-populated. This is critical, and implemented. But lack of file-name customisation is a real jerk-move.

Lightroom CC on the iPad

It’s cool. Really cool. But it’s not your main Lightroom life.

First up, once you’ve got over the import headache, it’s awesome. Sliders are responsive, control is good enough (there have been times where I feel I can’t rotate, for example, by .2 degrees – I can get .1 or .3…) and the screen is so nice. The device is portable, I can edit shots right away when I’m waiting for my bus, or whatever.

If you’re a mobile phone tethering type – MAKE SURE you stop your syncing. This little mistake can eat your data plan without any consideration, and fast.


They just don’t exist – you need to copy and paste to get a similar look.

Presets are pretty good, but there not the whole workflow. For me, I’m not a preset and forget type; they are a starting point. So while they aren’t the core part of my workflow, creating my own just doesn’t seem possible. I can copy and past settings (including Spot Removal*), but I don’t want to do that. I just want to either add to the standard presets, delete the ones I don’t use, or just manage it myself? Like on Lightroom Classic! But I can’t… I’ve got to find my picture, copy the settings and paste them like some kind of copy and paste monkey.

*Spot removal / Heal tools

I can copy and paste a spot removal (or heal). How did that even get there? Here’s the real bitch – you can’t do it on the iPad. The finger friendly iPad falls over on this front, Adobe. You can use Photoshop Fix on the iPad, but then you’ve got to export your raw image from Lightroom – lock in all those settings to a destructive JPEG – do the edit, make a new file, re-import, blah-freakin’-blah bullshit. Lightoom CC for iPad is just not finished. Obviously.

So how did it get there to copy and paste? Well, the desktop Lightroom CC DOES have spot removal. And it syncs up. Which is cool, but…

For me, lack of spot removal is a critical show-stopper in moving from a Mac and jumping to the tablet eco-system. Fixing up sensor dust – a sad reality of mirrorless shooting – is critical. But I’ve got a Mac and I’m not dead in the water on that front.

Panoramic stitching

Nope, sorry. Not here. Move on. Or move back, actually. It’s not in the new Lightroom CC, iPad, Android or Desktop. Need to use Lightoom Classic, soz.

This recent Lightroom feature – which is awesome when it works – is a killer feature of the now Lightroom Classic. Producing DNG files is such a sweet feature, meaning edits can happen for real. Not some locked down JPEG.

IF I want a raw panoramic shot, I’ve got to jump in Lightroom Classic, do the render, export the DNG, import the DNG and then I’ve got it. Clunky process, cranky me… Not a show-stopped, but a step back.

Third party plugins / Edit in…

More of a Lightroom CC Classic thing, but none the less, something I’ve got no idea about on the iPad. I don’t think it’s designed with an app eco-system in mind. You need to export, do your thing elsewhere (say Photoshop Fix / HDR software), then import it back.

But there’s a magic feel with Lightroom CC on the iPad

Despite the shortcomings above – especially noticeable having made the jump from a years-old established work-flow – there’s a magic feel to it. When things are good, they are great. Just a little thing – it’s awesome being able to edit on my iPad, it syncs up with my girlfriend who is doing some social posts on our travel blog. Sharing libraries is cool. Being able to post to instagram easily, or social, is cool. And despite the clunky edge cases above, it’s mostly cool.

I just wish the bloody spot-removal / heal tool was in there. I don’t get why it’s not?

In Lightroom CC conclusion

I’m unable to kill of Lightroom Classic and I don’t want to. The reason I’m unable is that firstly, I can’t use the new tools for batch time-lapse processing – it’s not designed or cut-out for it. In addition, I’ve got WAY more than 100GB of previous photos. I’m not sure how Adobe plan to manage this in the future. I can’t even upgrade to beyond 100GB which is a bit of a potential problem.

The major mobile deficiency is spot removal / heal tool, but it’s on the desktop version. The mobile solution to use Adobe FIX is oddly broken, where Adobe need to FIX this…

And time-lapse workflows?

So, for the record, right here – there’s no way I can do this for my time-lapse workflow. No way. Consider 600 raw images – that’s some 24 gigabytes to upload. Almost a quarter of my 100 gigabyte quota. That’s okay – but it’s a strike against the Lightroom CC. iPad or not.

If you’re doing time-lapse – Lightroom CC isn’t up for it.

Other than that, if everything – such as internet – goes right, it’s very good. For now, one month in, that’s my assessment. But long term, I’m unsure to the point of really thinking ‘hang on’…

The RAW Cloud questions

Do Adobe want people to be storing RAW files?

Right now – with no ability to go beyond 100GB storage, I can only store 2,500 photos (as I compress them). If I shot uncompressed, half that number. It’s not enough.

Are ISPs / Internet speeds ready for RAW Cloud storage?

I’m lucky enough to be working from high-speed-internet-serviced areas, where 100 megabits up and down is common. But back in Australia, my home network would seriously crap its dacks.

Final thought

Overall, it’s an awesome platform. But it’s no surprise that Lightroom Classic CC is still around. If Adobe killed it, they’d have some seriously pissed customers. But I’m still worried about my 100gb ceiling. How much will that update cost? If I get dependent on this workflow, what choice will I have for storage? None, I suspect.

I think Lightroom CC would be great for straight-up photographers of lower megapixel cameras. For me, I can use it, but file transfers feel a little silly. It’s plenty of data to move around.

And if you’re wanting to use it as a productivity tool for SEO work – it’s a massive back-step.

But you can still generate some great shots with it…

And now, pictures… All created with Lightroom CC

And note their file-names. Not very search friendly, you wannabe-online-company Adobe…

Mount Agung, Bali. An Eruption Looms.

Mount Agung, Bali. An Eruption Looms.

We arrived in Bali around the end of July, and the main volcano of the island, Mount Agung, started stirring. Not that you’d really know. Minor earth tremors, things of that nature. Needless to say, it’s been a slow build. Up until last week – that’s where things have really reached boiling point.

We had planned a road trip around the North East and as such, got some great views of the massive structure that stands around 3,000 meters above sea-level. And sea-level is kinda where this mountain starts. It’s incredible. The roads, all around it, just gradually go up and up and up.

Either way, being so close to this rumbling icon has put a spotlight on some pretty interesting aspects of reporting. And a couple of my pictures have been picked up by international media, to help support the narrative. For example, The Guardian, Daily Mail and Perth Now to name a few. As I write this, I’m talking with producers from the BBC Word Service Radio. It’s a seriously hot topic issue. Especially now the alarm level has been raised to the highest state of ‘4 – Eruption imminent’.

News is so slow to get out. You see a tweet indicating the alarms have reached a critical new high, only to realise it was a scheduled tweet to ensure this mornings link gets seen. So, no actual change. News media using various sources, being a little out of date. Then there’s mixed messages.

You also see messages for international tourists, saying no need for concern.

What I didn’t expect was to be labeled irresponsible. As in, me being irresponsible.

Here’s my initial tweet:

From my tweet, I didn’t anticipate some of these replies. I take their point, but still caught me by surprise.

I get it. I didn’t exactly say what was going on. But I did was keep the tweet short and use two pictures to tell the story. I had – falsely – hoped that would demonstrate the activity with a picture. Equally, I didn’t say “LAVA Steaming down mountain”. Which, some people are absurdly doing. This type of event attracts headlines the hooks people in, and increasingly prank news (perhaps referred to as Fake News – this ain’t that).

Looking at media, reports of smoke, lack of clarity on the source of the smoke. It’s from the bush fires. In a broad sense, the mountain is a volcano, and there is smoke coming from it, but it’s misleading. Reports of monkeys running down the hills. Are they escaping the fires?

I’m not saying there aren’t causes for concern. But broader media – social and traditional – love to drum up a dramatic story. That was never my intention. I saw the beautiful volcano. It was a clear night. There was a fire burning.

The volcano under the starts had been a bucket list photo I’d been chasing since I arrived.

Have a look at the pictures below – many have been tweeted. You can see how images, with the right or wrong caption, can tell (or support) a different story.

Last up. Something that was level at me was the following. Have a look.

Event Photography, Social Media & Connecting Technology

Event Photography, Social Media & Connecting Technology

Is a picture worth a thousand words on Twitter?
When it comes to Twitter, based on some rough calculations, a picture exceeds the 140 character limit by around 4,850 characters – if a picture is actually worth a thousand words*. The ability to add rich media, or high-end photography can really help serve as the hook to get the attention of your audience when you’re running an event physically and virtually. And this extends to other social platforms (thinking Instagram), too.

I’ve covered a events in varying capacity of photography and social media, where plenty of thought is given to driving engagement and making the physical experience as ‘amplifiable’ as possible online. And that’s the wonderful crossroad of social media and photography.

People love snapping screenshots and being first on Twitter with that amazing insight or graphic. Problem is, many of these environments are poorly lit and getting a great shot isn’t overly simple.

Obviously, photography on mobile phones has greatly advanced in recent years, but so too has the connectivity of modern digital cameras (mirrorless and DSLRs). Here’s me in action (on a pretty standard looking iPhone shot):

You can now shoot a keynote, a presenter, a slide, a room, the guests, an establishment shot – whatever you snap – and using wifi, then sync to your mobile phone allowing you to onward share to the world.

The best part is you can now edit photos on a mobile phone, using some very capable (and free) tools, like Snapseed or VSCOCam. Workflow wise, this can really streamline the ability to get great quality images to the wider world, super fast. It’s almost possible to have professional images, live. For example:

My Experience with Two Social-Photography Scenarios

1) I’m The In-House Social Photographer

I’m able to do it all. I’m shooting, syncing, posting and running the whole show – as in, I’m in the social media team, I’ve got the keys to Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Facebook and so on.

2) I’m The Photographer for Hire

In this instance, I’m not in the social team, so obtaining access to the social accounts wouldn’t be suitable. That said, this is okay. Because I can shoot, sync, edit – and share to someone in the social team.

Live Photo Sharing with the Social Team

Rather than posting to social, I can share to the social team as-i-shoot, providing a stream of high-end pictures which can then be posted from the company Twitter handle. But there are a few ways to make this happen, but you need to be mindful of the shortcomings of each.

DropBox / Google Drive

This is a great solution that allows for a simple sync from my mobile phone to a cloud sharing service. Prior to the event kicking off, I create the folder and share that folder with the social team. Once the social team has access (on their mobile phone or laptop), they have immediate access when I sync.

When to use DropBox or Google Drive?
If the social manager is familiar with either of these platforms, I’ll run with this approach. It’s fast and simple. I find this works best when the social team has a laptop, but can well on mobile too.

Facebook Moments

Moments is a really simple app that allows for high resolution image sharing between two Facebook ‘friends’. It’s a app that you can only use on a mobile phone. The person in the social team gets notified of a new photo, which is a big tick against the Drive & Dropbox solutions.

When to use Facebook Moments?
If the social team is a Facebook friend and they are roving on their mobile, Moments is perfect. The picture gets received with a notification and they can save and share when ready.


Email’s a bit clunky, but it still serves a purpose. Some of the shortcomings of email are pictures are often resized – it’s sometimes hard to control this. Equally, email inboxes can be a little cluttered and it’s not built-for-purpose, as much as Moments, Drive and Dropbox are.

When to use Email?

When Drive, DropBox and Moments don’t do the trick.

Messenger Services (Facebook / SMS / IM)

These tools are often geared towards general communication, not the transfer of files. That said, they often run over 3/4G technology, so can be the last plan of attack. Pictures can be resized and reduced without any control.

When to use Messenger Services?
When all else fails…

What Next?

You’ve got two options. 1) Give this a go yourself, or 2), if you’re looking for an event photographer with technical and social experience, I’m available for bookings – see or search for @regularsteven – I’m all over the web 🙂

I’ve got the artistic experience to capture an event in its best light and have the technical and social experience to bring it to life in real-time. I quote fixed costs, with the social aspects included. Costs include delivery of all edited photographs in the following 2 days of the event.

Quick Note: All photography gets the professional editing treatment in post production for a broader gallery. But, the social side is a big value add!

Last up, if there are suitable photos (local landscape, establishment architecture, etc) that align with my broader style of shared photography, I’m happy to share this with my 10,000+ audience across my social channels along with a brand mention of ‘Shooting the <YourBrand+Event>’. This might be a little brand boost that could be a little tick – if you’re looking for a sweetener.

* Based on average of 5 characters per word

Have a little look for some social examples of my work in action…

Catching out SEN on Copyright. And getting ham compensation.

Catching out SEN on Copyright. And getting ham compensation.

Sorting out copyright is complex. To say the least. How you approach it, well… There are many strategies, from send an invoice to a legal threat, but you never know how they will respond. And you have to be prepared to follow up, which could be really costly, too.

It turns out that Melbourne radio station SEN were using on of my photos, originally posted on my blog in 2012:


as their twitter cover photo, which you can see here:

In the past, when I’ve hit people up, they just take it down and from there, it’s up to me to pay for and pursue legal action. It’s complicated, costly and time-consuming.

Tonight, I tried to do something different.

I was listening to SEN around 4:20pm today (Jul 22), and they opened up a segment about the Melania Trump plagiarising Michelle Obama’s speech. They said, “call up if you’ve got a rip-off story”. So I did.

I explained I’m a photographer to the producer, and then on-air. Have a listen if you like. Long story shot; I think I’m going to score a ham…

Within a couple hours, they’ve taken it down.

Do Channel 7 care about copyright?

Do Channel 7 care about copyright?

Friday week ago – 16th October – I got surprise. I was tagged in a Facebook post with a quick snap of my photo on the Channel 7 Melbourne News broadcast.

Edit – 2pm on 29th October

I received a phone call today, 6 hours after sharing this story via social media. Simon, from Channel 7 Melbourne, apologised for this mistake and advised me this photo was submitted by someone else. When I pressed for who, Simon didn’t know as there was too much data to sort through. Simon indicated that they would continue to look through the data, and I’m now waiting to find out who submitted this photo. After asking for an ETA, Simon advised me he’d ‘try call tomorrow’ (Friday).

To be honest, we’re talking about 8 nights of photos to go back. This would have been 1 night back had they responded to my initial request, but now it’s 8. The fact they have too much data to go through feels unusual, so I am eagerly waiting Simon’s response.

I had no idea they were using it; they never asked, and they didn’t even let me know. The only reason I knew was because a friend of mine happened to catch it and let me know.

When it comes to my photos, they sometimes ‘do the rounds’ and get picked up, both with and without consent. I advised Channel 7 the Monday after the broadcast. They emailed me that Friday with a “we’ll be in touch”. 10 days after letting them know, I’ve had enough of trying to do this quietly.

So what happened?

On Friday morning, October 16, I had an early start to the day. I was meeting up with some Instagram buddies to head out for a sunrise shoot and meet face-to-face. That morning, I put it up on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. Here’s the tweet, with a notable favourite…

Screenshot from Twitter
Screenshot with the Twitter favourites

Turns my Tweet got a favourite that day from Channel 7 News Melbourne Meteorologist Jane Bunn. Then that night, it’s on air.


Contact with Channel 7

On the following Monday (Oct 19th) morning, I reached out to Channel 7 via a direct Facebook message and asked what happened. From what I can tell, there’s a few potential scenarios:

  1. Someone submitted the photo on my behalf, and without my permission. It’s possible…
  2. As part of the Twitter / Instagram terms of service, they have a legal arrangement with Channel 7 granting usage. I don’t believe this to be the case.
  3. Jane Bunn raised this with the News Team, and they then used it without my permission.

Just to be clear…

Channel 7 did put my name on the photo during broadcast. Crediting, though, is not permission. That’s akin to me crediting Disney when sharing Mickey Mouse material; Disney wound’t stand for it because I am breaching their copyright. And that’s what has happened here.

Does this even matter?

Some would say not, and that I should appreciate the exposure (yes, I get that a fair bit!). In my opinion, and when you’re in my position, it’s my right to care as it’s my photo used without my permission. That’s what really pisses me off; they should have asked! Making this type of creation isn’t easy and it’s a process that has taken years to refine. I mean, for them to just ‘take it’ isn’t right.

Not only that – how do they actually source any of their photos? I mean, now I wonder if anyone actually sends them in, of if they just pluck things away at their choosing!

All that said, photography isn’t my business. I haven’t made this a professional pursuit, because I value my motivations. I do this stuff for the love of it, and to be honest, the feedback I get is really humbling and encouraging. In the past, I’ve used my photography for charity fundraising. I love giving prints as gifts for friends and family. And I frequently let other artists and students use my work. But it’s not about money.

And in over 10 days…

I’m yet to get any response of substance. I’m really disappointed the Channel 7 News team haven’t reached out to me with any explanation. Brett from the Channel 7 social team has been really helpful, and checked in to follow up, but he’s done what he can.


I want Channel 7 to put something on the table as an apology and acceptance they have done the wrong thing. Like I said, this isn’t my business, and I didn’t create the situation. But I want them to fix it.

And if you didn’t know… What should have happened?

In 2014 I managed to get a photo of Russian space junk burning through the sky in dramatic fashion. It was pretty exciting to be honest, and I was approach from ABC Australia, FOX, CNN, and many more requesting permission to use it. Check out CCN and the video: To the surprise of some, I was more than happy for people to use it. Some thought I should have tried to cash in on the photo, but that’s just not me. I was okay for people to use it on request, and I didn’t say no once. In fact, the real highlight was Scienceworks using it for their Planetarium – I honestly find it awesome that I’ve got something that helps get people excited about space and science.

The key to this space junk example is I was asked for permission. The reason people ask for permission is mostly legal; a major broadcaster should understand copyright, and the nature of copyright is such that it’s implied. Whoever creates it, owns it. That’s it.

As for the actual photo, here it is…

Supporting Makers to House Breakers

Supporting Makers to House Breakers

Update 31/07/2015:

Bryce Wilson (AKA @drjft) has contacted me and request changes to the article below. Specifically, with reference to him using stolen gear for the photographs discussed, and that he profited from this stolen gear. As such, I’ve removed this content.


Let me get this out of the way. I’m not accusing Bank of Melbourne of any wrongdoing, but it’s more of a strange story on the content marketing landscape. In no way have Bank of Melbourne actively supported robbery (obviously), but inadvertently, they have supported a thief and trespasser. Equally, I advised Bank of Melbourne of this post prior to publication (I didn’t want to create a a real headache for someone), and they have since taken the posts down. Also, mentioned Instagrammer @drjft has also gone ‘private’, so the topic of which I’m talking is of real relevance. 

Instagram; Started with creators & makers, and increasing in curators

Lately, it seems like I’m getting ‘followed’ by more and more businesses / brands / corporates wanting to explore new territory with regards to their content marketing strategies. I’m generally for it, as it’s a great way of embracing content generated by the creators, and these brands are always on the lookout for a way to curate to new markets. Equally, if a brand is generating great content, that’s an even bigger tick. But the actual content generation seems hard, expensive and the exception, so curation is all the rage right now…

(Quality) Content is King

If I get followed by some known brand – and I’ll use @bankofmelb for this – I’m generally curious on 2 fronts. 1) What type of content are they posting, and 2) What is their agenda (cause, it will have an internal ROI)?. So on @bankofmelb, what do they stand for?

Bank of Melbourne Bank of Melbourne's official Instagram. Celebrating the people, places and stories of our home state, through the lens of a local.
Bank of Melbourne Bank of Melbourne’s official Instagram. Celebrating the people, places and stories of our home state, through the lens of a local.

Good idea, and nice content too. It’s all curated, or ‘regrammed’, with a little comment crediting the original author. But one post jumped out at me, and it was really exceptional.

Beautiful Photograph Taken at Melbourne Heights
Beautiful Photograph Taken at Melbourne Heights. Bank of Melbourne have since removed this, after being notified of this story.

I didn’t quite know how they sourced that photo (I know Melbourne pretty well, but that looked like a hard space to find). Anyways, I followed @BankOfMelb back, and that was a couple weeks back. Last night on Channel 9 News, I saw an interesting news report that revolved around a Melbourne Instagrammer. Turns out, the picture above, was taken by @drjft, who was the prime target. Basically, this guy climbs illegally, and then gets exposure based on the uniqueness of it…

    1. We’ve got a corporates ‘regramming’ photos
    2. We’ve got a now-known criminal who has illegally taken these photos (and it’s not unfair to draw the conclusion he used a stolen camera to take this specific photo, from the video above)
      • Note, 31st July 2015: Bryce Wilson has informed me that the stolen equipment was not used for these specific photos, so this conclusion was not the case.  Equally, he apologises wholeheartedly for the grief he cased from the stolen personal possessions, but has no qualms with the fact he does trespass to gain access to take photographs.
    3. We’ve got a corporate capitalising on this… Seems kinda strange, huh?

I know Instagram isn’t a cash cow for business, but as per the original agenda of a @BankOfMelb being on Instagram, ROI isn’t unexpected. Equally, I’m not saying that Bank of Melbourne we’re aware of this illegal activity, but reading the comments @drjft’s original post (below), you’d think it be safe to suspect they knew it was slightly dodgy…

Conversation between @BankofMelb and @drjft
Conversation between @BankofMelb and @drjft

I’m not wanting to make a harsh judgment call on Bank of Melbourne, as this hasn’t really been their doing. Increasingly, businesses are doing this more and more, and this is a real ‘watch this space’. The current corporate-content landscape is very interesting and it’s early days. In the future, the notion of regramming will come under more scrutiny. It’s only a matter of time for a big corporate to regram something that a person has has uploaded, that they never had permission to. And that could cause some real legal headaches…

What do I want out of this?

Firstly, content curation is isn’t risk free or easy. Equally, creating content isn’t easy, but it seems that content curation is often looked at as the ‘easy way for cut-through’, because it requires less ‘doing’ and more ‘finding’.

Secondly, if curation is to be the approach, understand the risks. What are the legal ramifications of uploading an image to a social media platform, that you don’t actually own it. Say you get permission; is it legal permission, or anecdotal? If it’s by means of a hashtag, or a ‘reply to a comment’, what happens if that person decides to delete it later? Will there be a record if they wanted to take you to court? I really believe this will get messy with the increasing desire for litigation, and this is of greater significance to brands with more to lose (cash / reputation / whatever).

Lastly, I want  marketers to take care with how they operate and understand the landscape. Understand copyright, understand terms of service, and understand that social media marketing puts people in the spotlight, for all the wrong reasons.

Is this just an unlucky coincidence (which I think it is, partly), or will this type of possible PR headache come up more and more (I think it will)? Or, does it even matter (as a creator, I think it does)?

And just a final word on Bank of Melbourne; I really do like their For the Maker campaign. It’s something that I personally align to, and their advert (below) is a real piece of work.