Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NBC iVillage, two pugs and a photograph

This photograph has had 1,600 views on flickr. I posted it in 2005.
Mickey & Arthur dressed up
This week I had an editorial request to use it. I get many of these through my photos on flickr. Whether they come from Swiss airline magazines, British online map companies or football magazines they always have one common theme - 'we can't pay you but...'
You know the rest. The request to use this image was from iVillage, which is now owned by NBC the American TV network.
Ignoring the fact that I was addressed to as Lauren, here is the email I received from iVillage's Michelle Menner (who I shall refer to as Steve):
Hi Lauren,
I'm with NBC's iVillage and am working on a feature about people who love their pets. Came across the photo of your adorable pugs in bug costumes and would love to use it as a part of a photo slideshow on the iVillage website.

Here's a link to the specific
If you're interested, please send the photo, photo description (pet's name, what's happening), and credit information (photographer name, city, state) to by Friday, June 24.
The feature will run in the next few weeks.
Thank you.
Michelle Menner

iVillage | Pregnancy + Parenting

I have refused every request to use my photography in an editorial publication unless payment has been offered. Only once has a fee subsequently been agreed.
At this point I can't stress strongly enough that you should never allow free use of your images, particularly for a profit-making agency or publication. If they get paid for their work, you should get paid for your work*.
Even if you are flattered, have never had a photo published before or are new to photography and looking to gain experience - never ever offer to work for free or allow your work to be used for free. It's idiotic and undermines the entire industry to the point where you can't complain about not being able to get aid for work later in your career because some other novice is offering work without payment.
For this request of the two pugs, to be included in a slideshow which I deemed was more of a promotional platform for my work, I decided I would allow the photograph to be used - but only after clarifying copyright and usage terms. So I emailed Steve back.
I received no reply.
It seems that organisations like NBC not only want images for free - they also can't be bothered to agree not to sell on your image for profit or promise that they won't grab the copyright off you.
*The only exception to this rule is if the publication is actually publicising your work or project.

Photographer John Stoddart National Photography Symposium 2011

It was a frantic 30 minutes when John Stoddart presented his own mini-retrospective in his hometown of Liverpool.
From Thatcher-hating socialist Liverpool to the excesses of celebrity in London, this Scouser in a suit was like a whirlwind in an otherwise plodding and overtly-serious National Photography Symposium.
Though still emitting Scouse tones, Stoddart’s eccentric poise is far from typical Merseyside. He’s more a slightly-camp head waiter than working-class scally.
These days, however, he serves the rich and famous. Photographing them for all the top publications. His ironic glitzy website is as good as I’ve seen in a long time.
He was a teenager in his 70s, photographing bands like Echo and the Bunnymen. Stoddart opened a studio (it didn’t last long). He tried the same thing in London. This time it worked. Magazines, record companies all commissioned him. Five shoots a week, he said. Now it’s fewer magaine shoots – ‘they don’t commission anymore'  but plenty of eroticism and art-porn (my description).
Stoddart admits to being a notoriously fast photographer. I can well believe it. Twenty-five years of photography crammed into a 30-minute slideshow. I blinked and I almost missed it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Best camera mobile phone for photographers

You’ve got a Blackberry. But you, over there, have an iPhone. And what’s that I see, someone with a Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot – oh, that’s me.

But just what is the best camera on a mobile phone?

For a few years now I’ve used the Sony Ericsson K810i because its Cyeber-shot camera is very good. It’s xenon flash is terrific for use indoors and at night. But the K810i is pretty hopeless when it comes to surfing the internet and is a no-go for apps.

As a photographer and journalist the benefit of being able to upload photographs and audio to my blog or apps, such as Audioboo (iPhone or Android only) is immeasurable. A mobile phone with a top-rated camera and a decent internet capability is a must.

But which is best?

In order to facilitate which phone I’m about to buy I’ve carried out my own forums reading and research to come up with two phones that get great reviews from some respected organisations.

And the leaders are the Nokia N8 and the huge Android-running HTC Desire HD.


On the HTC Desire Which? Says: This comes with a range of different camera modes, such as distortion and sepia, but probably of more use is the dual LED flash, which helps in low-light conditions. Picture quality is above average and photos look fantastic on the large, sharp display. However we did note that the camera has a very tight focus, so you have to stand some distance away to fit in wide shots.



Tech radar says of the Nokia H8: Its massive image sensor (the biggest of any smartphone currently on the market), f/2.8 aperture and 5.9mm focal length produce photos that are almost film-worthy. Unfortunately, there's no optical zoom, just a disappointing 2x digital option - but the good quality optics, Xenon flash and manual controls for everything from the white balance to ISO settings make it an excellent choice for the photography-conscious.

Websites visited include Which?, and