Photographers! Your Photos will get Stolen even if it's Low Resolution


This should be a warming to photographers who think that adding meta tags to get your photo found in Google search is going to get you plenty of business.

A photographer by the name of Zach was mildly surprised when his photo turned up in a mall. The story appear on Petapixel and goes like this.

Zach listed his photo with a photo credit at three online locations, but the last one used on his blog wasn't credited with a copyright notice. The first two were Flicker and Facebook and the last being his own blog.

How it got stolen was relatively simple. Remember how SEO pundits tell you to name your photo so that it gets discovered in a google photo search...well that is a bad fucking idea apparently. 

This is how Zach found out when he did a name search of his photo. Guess what, it came up in the top ten results and that is probably how it got stolen. 

Once a thief does a search, gets a low resolution file and extrapolates it to a bigger resolution size, there is no hope in hell he can't do a blow up poster of any kind. 

Well meaning photographers who post to places like 500px think that their photos are safe? In your fucking dreams!

All it takes is a screens shot and your picture is worth, well about next to nothing. 

And if you chased down the offenders, in this case...for Zach who lives in a country where copyright protection is guaranteed by law, who also demanded compensation was met with stiff resistance. 

The compensation was not agreed upon and guess what. Lawyers in the US had to say this to Zach.

"The photo stolen was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and without that, it would be hard to collect damages aside from usage fees."

So photographers, please don't think you have a piece of IP if you haven't registered it yet with the US copyright office and yes, registration isn't free of course. You pay for it and hopefully secure a windfall once some big corporation abuses your copyright and you sue the pants off them, that is...provided you had the money to pay a lawyer to sue.

I have come across job postings for Photo Editors with online sites which says...part of the job of the Photo Editor is to 'remove' watermarks so any talent with Photoshop will be deemed a talent. Needless to say, when you remove watermarks, it means you're openly stealing from a Google search. 

With this sort of image theft going on wholesale, it is little wonder that any photographer is seen as nothing more than a Photoshop Hack. 

Copyright when it comes to image is nothing more than the right to copy. That's all. So when you display your photo somewhere on the Internet, be prepared to have that taken by others. There is no putting the toothpaste back into the tube once its been squeezed out.


Rezivot Ressurrects Polaroid Film Backs for old Cameras



Here is a Kickstarter Project that is worth backing. A self made camera engineer of sorts is trying to create a new 4x5 as well as Fujifilm Instax Wide instant film adapters for a wide range of old skool cameras. 

His Kickstarter presentation isn't very polished but Kendar Chen is pretty adamant about having a film back that will fit most old film cameras that used  Polaroid 600se instant film sheets. 

Since the demise of Polaroiod, the Impossible project has been hard at work producing these instant film stocks from a bygone era and unfortunately, not everyone is able to buy into them. 

Two instant film stocks that is still widely available is made commercially by Fujifilm, namely the Instax Wide and FP-100C

If you are going to use instant film, your best option is to use them with the best instant film available. The problem with the Impossible Project film stocks are they are very unreliable as can be seen by the output results. The chemicals used from for the original Polaroid film stocks are no longer available and as a result, substitutes have to be used. The new film stocks are still being tweaked, and do not perform like the original Polaroid film so something had to be done.

Fujifilm still manufacturers their instant film stocks that gives consistent results. The FP-100 is by far one of the best if not the best in the market. The Instax Wide comes in a distant second. 

What Rezivot has done is create those backs that will fit onto some of these old skool cameras that have no film stocks available and to adapt others to take in the Instax Wide processor. This processor mimics the shooting and spitting out of the film after capture. 

So with it, you could literally adapt it to a few different types of cameras, including Mamiya 6x7 and Hassey. This means those old cameras aren't going away but now have the necessary ammo designed for you to shoot again. 

For the Kickstarter Campaign, you have a choice to back your desired film backs depending on the camera you still have lying around in the attic. 

The campaign just started and I urge you to make this a reality. Apparently, they already have a few successful beta designs and are still working to make more old film cameras useful once again.


500px rebrands in China, photographers turn nasty!


After its rebranding exercise, 500px was suddenly in hot soup after it announced that it is going into China with as part of their expansion drive. 

What CEO Andy Yang didn't know was he had opened a door to a hornet's nest. 

As Andy pointed out in the Series B Funding scheme, Visual China Group which poured in the money expects 500px to be live in China. So when 500px started a Beta site to test out the system by mirroring the same content in China as well as their global site, photographers went on a rant to say that they didn't give their permission to go live in China. This is of course utterly stupid since 500px is not blocked in China after checking. 

China a Country for Pirates?

The only reason why photographers feel insecure is that they fear their photos would be stolen. I find this highly amusing as for some reason, photographers do not know that their most precious works are regularly stolen in the western world as well as sites like 500px are not responsible for the content you put up. 

For example, if you have a large screen computer like the iMac, you can take a high resolution snapshot of the screen and it will be saved in TIFF. The snapshot file can then be extrapolated to a larger image when you have the right software. 

To think that by displaying your images on versus is safer is pure hilarity. 

True. China has as bad rap for stealing anything but if their beef is with China Vision Group, the investor of 500px, then you probably have it coming. First, 500px has already given away your images as free backdrops on Chromecast. You don't get a cent if you get featured. 

China Vision Group is a content company, now owned by 

The deal is no different than 500px giving Google a free ride on Chromecast. will remain in Beta?

Probably not after Andy pulled the plug as he was trashed in social media for not seeking permission. 

To me, all this hullabaloo is pointless for the following reasons. 
  • is meant to be a Chinese centric site, 500px can still go ahead without the .me prefix and have a dual language login for Chinese users. This means the Chinese site will be a CDN site hosted in China. 

  • 500px is not a well known source for royalty free imaging since their pricing is much higher and the stock image market is going on a downward spiral. It makes no sense to think you can earn less by not allowing the Chinese to view your images. 

  • TTIP and TPPA makes no mention that your images would be protected under their copyright terms. What is protected are Music and Movies, not to mention TV content as well. Again, to think that you will have more copyright protection with these trade pacts is pure fantasy. 

Having to get your permission for 500px to use your images in China is just another layer that does nothing for you as a photographer or your earnings. If you are serious about not having your images stolen, then don't display them on any social site. 

It makes no sense to do so if you know technology well enough to conduct image theft. 


Lomo Instant Wide: Should you get one?


It's up for preorder but one isn't available just yet. Now would you want one coz technical specs are kinda thin. Or would you like to wait and see? Lomo has since put its pre ordres on hold as they have been inundated with demand and they can't cope with the orders.  

Here is what we know about the camera. 

  • If offers TWICE the picture area of an INSTAX Mini print.
  • It has interchangeable lens for wide and close up shots. 
  • It has fully auto exposure settings
  • It has a lens cap that doubles as a remote shutter
  • It is actually a Fuji Mini Instax Wide camera with changeable lens attachment
  • It is fuguly

Now many years ago...I was intrigued by this Instax Wide camera, was more than a decade and a half ago, but I settled for the Instax Mini instead and for good reason. 

I wanted to travel and didn't want to lug around a camera which was bigger than both my hands. 

It is fucking big and don't let the Lomo video fool you into thinking otherwise. The problem is the film and how it has to swallow the whole Fuji film cartridge making the camera a beast. 

Now, I have been a SLR users all my life and would gladly move away to something analog like a rangefinder but these days, I am not that active anymore in shooting and when I do, I have a Galaxy Note 4 for all those shots that come without notice. So when I held the Instax Wife from Fuji in my hands those many years ago, I decided that it has to mean something if I am to use that camera. 

For one, I would prefer a Polaroid EE100 Reporter as it folds into a nice package but comes with a fixed lens. Comparatively, the Lomo Instant Wide has interchangeable lenses. But for me, the Polaroid would win over my choice since the two is about the same in size and bulk. 

The Polaroid has character, while the Lomo looks almost Soviet-ish in design. However both a plastic bodied so don't assume it will last a life time even though the EE100 is still available on eBay for cheap. 

When you buy an instant camera, you have to know what you are using it for. If is is just for fun and you can afford those pricey prints, then it's fine. Fun is a cost factor. If you don't have a need to shoot analog then please don't. 

Shooting analog is difficult. 

There are severe technical limitations that makes it difficult to operate and even though the camera has an auto exposure, not all scenes render well on instant film. Once you understand this and don't mind going the distance to learn to use it, then it is fine. 

I hate to see people think that shooting analog is easier than digital. I beg to differ. Once your expectations are ruined, the whole analog concept will be dumped along with it and you'd never get the chance to experience it once you double down on an iPhone. 

And this is what Lomo is all about. It is about the shooting experience that analog gives you that you won't find on a digital medium. For me, digital is almost fool proof. The many ways it can go wrong for you can be corrected in post production while in analog, that is never the case. There are more challenges in analog photography and this is what makes it different. 

So if you are in the mood for a challenge, then don't hesitate to pick up an analog camera. 


500px to use give your images for Free to Google Chromecast


Remember the Taylor Swift demand that Apple pay her when her music is played for non-subscribers using Apple music during the trial period? Ditto. 

Apparently 500px feels that it owns your pictures and for that, streams it live to Google Chromecast for absolutely nothing. That's how much your digital pictures are worth I'm afraid. They have licensed it to Google for nothing and photographer's contribution to the site will now be carried for free as an image backdrop. 

Now I cannot see why Taylor Swift could make such a demand using the same logic while photographers seems to get ripped off by the same process. 

If Google wants those images as a backdrop for Chromecast, then they should pay for it. 

I do not know at this stage if 500px did a backdoor dealing with Google on this and it certainly does not bode well for people who want to earn some money from their photographic works. Why doesn't 500px tell Google that they can only display creative commons type of images only and that until a photographer signs off as a CC release, no picture will be displayed until a fee is paid. 

Imagine for a moment that they only give you credit for the image displayed. Would that translate to financial success?

I'm afraid not. 

No one is going to be paid and the want for fame does not equate with fortune. You work could net you picture a framed and printed picture sold from 500px but giving it away as a backdrop is pretty much like shooting an image for free just for your photo byline. 

Why not shoot for free? The thousands you sunk into camera gear gives you so much joy that not having a roof over your head or a hot meal on the table isn't a priority. 

Having your picture discovered is one thing, but getting paid for it is a whole different issue. Being discovered as a photographer these days is like finding a nickel on the street. If it makes you happy just to be that nickel well good for you. 

But for the rest of us. We want to be paid because we believe that our pictures are worth something more than that nickel on the street. 

So let's hear it from Photographers in the comments below...!


Voigtlander Rangefinders are no more....


Cosina recently announced the end of production for all its rangefinder cameras. Even in a time where interest in film photography has become a bit of a renaissance, Cosina could not sell enough of them to keep them alive. 

This is not to say that you'll see the Voigtlanders disappear from the shelves overnight. There are still plenty of stocks, just that maybe the models might be looking for won't be in stock. 

Like for example the Bessa R4M would have been my camera of choice. It has 21mm framelines for wide angle shooting, so you don't have to buy an optional viewfinder like in the case of Leica M cameras. Leica has no solution for wide angle lenses except for a clip on viewfinder which you have to pay for. 

Voigtlander lenses are still being manufactured so it's not a big dent on your film shooting experience. 

For me, the Voigtlander rangefinder cameras was a good step towards film photography for beginners as they are much cheaper to own than compared to the Leica MP or M series rangefinders. 

Leica still manufactures the MP, a pro level film camera which cost a bomb. But the Bessa was the cheaper alternative. In fact, it is only a fraction of the cost of a used Leica M7. You could go buy a used film camera on eBay, but there are some of us who want to own something new. 

Why the SLR won the Film Battle

Before the introduction of the SLR, the rangefinder was the only professional film camera you could use. How the SLR became king of the hill was simple. It was much easier to focus and use. 

In a rangefinder, you have to align two split focus images together to know that you are in focus, whereas in a SLR, you can judge the focus by the clarity of the whole frame. Even the highly praised Olympus XA did away with rangefinder focusing in subsequent models. 

The ease of using a SLR was evident from the onset but prices between the two didn't differ as much. Both needed manual lenses and the Japanese found a way to make it cheaper. This meant that Voigtlander was sold to Cosina and the European heritage faded away. 
Over the years, Voigtlander started to withdraw production of its cameras, the first to go were the A models, now even the M models have been killed off. 

As rangefinder cameras fell out of fashion, the digital age was probably the final nail in the coffin. 

What you'd be missing on a Voigtlander Cameras

The Bessa R3M had a 1:1 viewfinder aspect ratio so you can keep both eyes open to frame a subject. This is clearly a step above what a Leica could do. 

But shooting with a film camera like the Bessa takes some getting used to, the A models have auto exposure while the M is fully manual. I could double down on a manual model as that is the best way to experience rangefinder photography like the old pros use to do. 

Using an old world method to capture images has to be experienced to be appreciated. 

There is no instant previews or sharing to social media. Film has to be developed and printed. Money must be spent on film. 

Film stocks give a varying degree of results. No two film stocks behave the same way. You get 36 shots in a roll, which means there is no machine gunning your way to a picture like you do on an iPhone. 

If you mess up the exposure, there is no second chances so you have to bracket shots which are important to you. 

Film photography, especially using a rangefinder camera, sharpens your level of observation as you learn to anticipate picture  moments before it happens. This is more so with the rangefinder as you need to work the focus and set an exposure for the moment while thinking of the framing. 

If you don't work fast enough, you will miss that moment. So instead seizing the moment, you anticipate it why observing what goes on around you. 

Sure you can do this with a film SLR as well, but that defeats the point of training your eye and mind to think at the same time. 

Shooting with a rangefinder is more difficult, sort of like driving with a stick shift on a classic car but the experience you get from it is out of this world. It's a sense of achievement to be able to shoot good pictures on film with a rangefinder than it is on your iPhone. 

So if you intend to embark on this challenge, I urge you to hurry. Bessa models would soon be only found in a used camera store.