Trying to sell photos isn’t exactly simple. To me, selling anything – I struggle. I’m not really a sales-man guy. In fact, the idea of telling people to do something makes me really cringe. You watch YouTube, and every video ends with a call-to-action, “so hey, subscribe to my video, check my channel, *do what I tell you!*”. It’s just not me. My view is if you dig it, you’ll act. It’s all about the product, right? But in a broad sense, that’s not really the right approach. Continue Reading..
As a ‘creator’, there’s a few things that drive me. One is the process of making something; It’s therapeutic and relaxing, scratches creative itches and gets me exploring. Then, to be honest, there’s the reaction of showing people. It’s nice to get positive feedback, and anyone who tells you different is kidding themselves. But basically, making something that people see is rewarding. Continue Reading..
The past two weeks have been pretty big. 2 days to myself in Tokyo, 10 days with my client, Sahra from Mindful Matcha, and now a couple days to myself in Osaka. To call this job a simple photoshoot, would really be underselling it. As much as this was a photography trip, much of the time was spent on all-things-business. From strategy, marketing, web tech, website development, social and content marketing, customer service and so on – this was a pretty encompassing. Continue Reading..
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
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. Continue Reading..
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. Continue Reading..
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. Continue Reading..
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…
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:
Someone submitted the photo on my behalf, and without my permission. It’s possible…
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.
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: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/11/world/asia/australia-fireball-soyuz/. 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.
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?
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.
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…
We’ve got a corporates ‘regramming’ photos
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.
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…
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.