Sunday, 30 January 2011

Any Old Excuse to Put up a Photo #4 - Battersea Power Station

Another from a gloomy day in London. This time last Friday - on the way into Victoria station I noticed the way that the sun's rays were coming through the clouds - so hot footed it to the Thames. This is actually not quite up to what I saw from the train but still a nice result.

This photo is part of the London gallery at the Light Touch image library.

Friday, 21 January 2011

I don't shoot weddings (#2)

More of Elaine and Jeremy on a cool March day. Great fun!

This image is part of portfolio - weddings; (but I don't shoot weddings).

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Vintage at Goodwood (not any more!)

Hmmmmm..... Vintage at Goodwood is becoming Vintage on the London South Bank. You only have to take a look at the photos from last year's festival to realise that there isn't remotely the outdoor space to recreate last year's event. And without the camping the 'festival' experience will disappear.

I'd worry about high ticket prices for individual events in the South Bank concert halls and droves of visitors to what may be free outdoor spaces ignoring the Vintage dress aspect that made it a pleasure last year.

At least we'll have the photos to remember the experience. A few here, lots more at the links above.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I don't shoot weddings....

and this wasn't a wedding, even if it was a wedding shoot for Elaine and Jeremy on a cool March day. Pretty cool venue too ;-)

This image is part of portfolio - weddings; (but I don't shoot weddings).

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Photo for free (?) #1


I am a working copywriter for an ad agency based in India. We need some images to adapt our ads in different media. I don't want to use images sourced through Google for the fear of copyright infringement. Your image will be used for presentation purpose only. I have attached the link of the image we need.

Expecting a favourable reply. Note: We will send you the finished artwork in which your image is used


Thank you for your interest.

For your use and location, if you pay in advance then I will go to my lowest price point - £25, Please let me know if you would like to proceed.

I guess you value your pictures highly. But sorry I could not pay such big amount. And the image I needed will be used only for a presentation. So I don't think I can spend such a big price for a small assignment. Anyways thanks for taking the time to reply.


This is the photo:

The photo may be unglamourous subject matter but nevertheless is obviously subject matter needed by businesses. That day, 8 months ago I went out and took photos of a particular unglamourous area of London. The nature of the images I took is that even if they were made available free then only 10 say would ever be used. With another day processing, to make the sums work I have to charge prices which reflect the rarity of the image and the rarity of the buyer and my need to pay the bills. This is not "microstock" which is a whole different market and an image like this will not anyway be available there.

Other stock photographers selling images will think I'm rather cheap. But this was a sale to India. On the other hand if photos like this were available for free or little cost then they would not be available because it would be madness to go out and shoot them.

Anyway, aside fom my own perception of the price of a stock photo, if my photo would help win an advertising firm a big contract then it would be well worth the money! In India because of the relative low wages it may be better for the buyer to search on, but in the UK (say) it would not be cost effective unless the business places no value on the time its employees spend searching for a less suitable substitute.

This is #1 of what could become a series inspired by the flow chart Should I work for free? by Jessica Hische - which came to my attention on the same day I received the enquiry but did not influence my reply!

This photo of a modern electronic advertising hoarding is available at my image library.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Any Old Excuse to put up a photo - #3 - Romance!

'Photo of the day' being out of the question this is the third image to be pulled from the archives under the 'any old excuse' banner.

Pulled from the archives? Well I actually took this yesterday on a gloomy day in London. But sometimes photo opportunities emerge from the gloom....

Sorry the watermark is so big - it's better if you click through.

This photo is part of the London gallery at the Light Touch image library.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Photo of the Day (?) - Newport Transporter Bridge

Having put up one of my favourite images on Monday (but with good if self-congratulatory reason) and today happening across this photo I wonder if it's time to start a 'Photo of the Day'? Immediately you may spot the issue with this because no image was posted yesterday - and indeed I know that there will be other days when no image gets posted so I'm going to shy away from the "Photo of the day" title & will have to think of something else. How about....

"Any Old Excuse to Put up a Photo - #2 - Newport Transporter Bridge"

That may be no good because I'll have to think of an excuse every time, no matter now lame! Anyway, that will do for now and, whatever I go for in the end, there will not be one tomorrow because I'm off shooting in London.

This, by the way, is the most impressive Newport Transporter Bridge. I've fiddled with the image a bit and think it would make an excellent photo art print as a gift for the admirer of 100 year old engineering or things Welsh (or both) in your family!

This photo is part of the Wales image gallery at the Light Touch image library.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Image selected to help stock library push into USA

I've been contacted by Alamy, the major player in the UK editorial photo market place, to tell me that one of my images will be used by them to help their push into the US stock photo market place following the opening about a year ago of their New York office. It's been selected for it's natural feel - it's available on Alamy and in the People - Model released stock photo section of my own site.

I know that it was shot using daylight only about 6 years ago and, because these were the days before noise free sensors at high ISO, at a low shutter speed. Sales on Alamy have been a bit quiet of late - but at least it's good to have them using my images.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The myth of the copyright free photo - "found it on the web"

With the launch of a new Twitter group "BoycottGetty" campaigning against Getty Images "extortion" of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting individuals or businesses using photos without permission I thought I'd explore the murky world of the legalities of using photos from the web for your own purposes.

Recently Dover council wanted an image of the White Cliffs to use on their website. They made the mistake of using a photo in which the white cliffs actually turned out to be in Sussex, 50 miles away. The story hit the newspapers. The Town Clerk, a person who you'd expect to know better said....

'The web designers were asked to provide a photo of the white cliffs, which they did. Part of their remit was to keep costs to a minimum, therefore nothing with a copyright was used. This caused its own problems, since it was hard to find a copyright-free photo taken with a professional, high-definition camera.'

So, here we go - let's blame the web designers. Well, they are to some extent to blame because they should have turned around and said "Can't do. There's no such thing as a copyright free photo!"

You see, every photo is taken by someone. And within the laws of the USA, UK, EU countries and in fact virtually every country on the planet, with one or two exceptions where the copyright is owned by an employer say, the person who took the photo owns the copyright.

And when they put it on the web, they still own the copyright. Copyright doesn't disappear! If a photo exists on the web then someone took it, therefore it is copyright. Simple. Except if you are in denial.

There are one or two wrinkles here -  perhaps the photographer's been dead 100 years. There are also come "public domain" images, for example, those taken by NASA of the moon. But otherwise every photo is copyright, like it or not, that's the way it is.

So why do people have this complete misperception when it comes to photos on the web? I've heard people say "I found it on the web" to explain why they think they can use a photo on their website.

The Daily Mail article compounds the folly of the Dover Town Clerk's statement by intepidly going off to find a random member of the public, taxi driver Terry Marshall, who said "If the town council really couldn't afford to spend money on finding a decent copyright-free picture, they should have asked for one before this embarrassing blunder happened." The reporter, who should know better, does not explain to the Town Clerk the error of his thought patterns on copyright but goes off into Kent to find someone to backup the Town Clerk's dodgy views that a copyright free photo of the white cliffs is there to be found.

So there you have it - Dover town council staff are out there spending hours searching for something that does not exist. You can only wonder why rather than waste all the time they don't save taxpayer's money paying their wages by going out and spending a few pounds on a decent stock photo from a reputable library.

A quick final example. Let's suppose for you want to use an image of a cute scotty dog puppy - why not skip off to Google Images and do a search on "scotty dog puppy". Gosh! 119,000 to choose from - you're spoilt for choice.

Click on an image. Google tells you "this image may be subject to copyright". What they should say is "This image is copyright". In 99.99% of cases they would be right. But by using the wet statement "may be subject to copyright" they are still correct and preserve the impression, shared by many, that unless there is a copyright notice next to or on the face of an image then it is fair game to grab it and use it. That impression, which preserves Google Images as the web's number one tool for finding images,  is what this article is intended to debunk.

So, are all those cute scotty dog images really copyright?  Well, if one was taken 100 years ago then it may be copyright free, or maybe the photo was taken in a third world country with no copyright laws. But the unfortunate reality is that copyright free is a concept too far, wishful thinking on the part of people who would like something for nothing.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The undercliff from Saltdean to Rottingdean and a spot on curry

It was a short but spectacular walk today from Saltdean into Rottingdean via the undercliff walk to savour a wonderful carribean curry and pint of Sussex at the Queen Victoria. A great experience on all counts!

PS Welcome to 2011!