Not a spectacular shot from me today, but a relevant one. Getting back into the swing of things with the business, of which Facebook is an important part according to almost everyone.

Trouble is the Instagram debacle just before Christmas shone a bright light into a deep dark hole in Facebook’s ToS.

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

So, while you share your work on Facebook it is essentially Facebook’s to do as it will. And if you change your mind about that, you still may not be able to do anything about it if anyone has shared your work.

This may not matter if you don’t want to make a living out of it, but it really matters to me. And really, it should matter to you too. If they own the rights to your work there is absolutely no telling where it will end up.

It’s an extreme thought, but would you want pictures of your children or yourself appearing in any kind of marketing material, let alone an organisation you may despise? It is sub-licensable after all. Which means FB can sell it on as if it were an image library.

I know of one person a couple of years ago, who actually had marketing material fall through his letterbox with pictures of his own kids on it, because someone he knew had shared his photos on FB. The marketing company apologised but the ToS essentially covers it.

From a professional point of view, the notion that my clients’ images could be used for something without their or my permission, however remote that possibility, is terrifying. It would surely leave me open to legal action.

Just my luck, I posted a shoot on FB days before the debacle. It got shared by family and friends instantly. No matter what I do, the chances of reversing that situation are nil now. I admit the chances of FB using these shots are also nearly nil, but why put that clause in there in the first place?

So. I’m thinking of another way to do things. Certainly a shift to Google Plus, possibly ditching FB altogether. It’s certainly made me think hard.

/end rant



My family has persevered this month, and not just with the obligatory November Norovirii and other school-based plagues, they’ve also persevered with me. My 7 year old daughter didn’t cry when I shaved my mostly permanent beard off; my partner, Rachel, didn’t flinch when she saw my naked face for the first time in two years, although whenever I have shaved on a whim previously, she has reacted like I was an impostor, unable to look me in the eye.

The reason they persevered so well is because the reason I did it is a good one. Many of us will have some connection to someone who has had to deal with prostate and testicular cancer. I certainly have. So for the second time I decided to upset the family and grow a mo’ for Movember ( ). They’ve been brilliant about it, to the point where our daughter gets upset when she sees a man without a Mo’ in the month of November.

For my part, I’ve been doing a self-portrait each week ( or close enough ) and posting on the ‘tinternet for all to point and laugh at. You can see them here, along with the rest of my website: – there’s one more to come, on November 30, when I get to regrow my face fungus and vow never to do it again. Well, that’s what my family think.

It’s been an interesting exercise, from a professional point of view too. Self-portraits are an invaluable tool: for trying out new techniques, and also for showing yourself the concerns that a sitter may have in front of your lens. It’s an exercise that I’ll be continuing and one I heartily recommend to other photographers. Heck if I can make my face look acceptable, then pretty much anyone else is on to a winner.

If you want to donate to my Movember page then you can do so here, even the smallest amount would be gratefully received: – it truly is for a great, and under-sung, cause.

You can see my other work here: Portraits 

One of my favourite words and actually a type of weather event that I really enjoy. The sounds do something special when there’s a haar, crisp but muted at the same time. And with the heat the way it is, it’s a welcome coolant. Extremely pleasant to walk in.

So I went on a haar-walk this morning to see what I could see. It’s well worth doing as it very often creates that wonderful pure white background that you often wish you could use to separate that interesting object away from it’s usually busy backdrop.

This is one of those objects. A disused winch ( I think ) on the Fife Coastal Path, near Inverkeithing. Been waiting for the haar for a while…

After my last post, hankering after the old school, this week  I was very kindly given a slot on a course on Facebook for business by someone who couldn’t attend at the last minute. Very informative, but very bewildering at the same time.

Seems FaceBook is about to become the internet with a forecast of 50% of all online transactions taking place on the site by 2015.

Very glad I went, and I now have a fledgling facebook page at . It’s going to take a bit of time to turn it into an interesting place to return to, but it’s a beginning.

My beautiful old Crown Graphic.

My beautiful old Crown Graphic.

…but on the other hand I love the fact that something that might have taken a day, can be done so quickly now.

I miss the enforced long thought processes that old school photography had, but I love the fact that the feedback loop from concept to draft to finished image is lightning fast now.

I read an article this morning where the photographer said they spent a week of back to back shoots to build a portfolio and got business out of that. That would have been impossible when I came out of uni in ’97. The art form has been turned upside down in the last 15 years, but given that photography was always the great democratiser, that’s how it should be.

Isn’t it?


Fingers crossed

I’m a superstitious photographer. Back in the days of film and chemicals, no matter how well I knew the process, I was never quite convinced it would work out and always held my breath while I took the film out of the developing canisters.

Because it was magic.

Much as I love the digital world now, that magic has pretty much gone. The superstitiousness of it hasn’t though. That resides in one place in my mind. The Alamy stock library website. I managed to pass the technical quality tests for the site many moons ago but the ability to pixel peep has made image library QA a dark art. In my day the grain in the film was far bigger than pixels are now so it was never an issue really. Even with large format stuff. If you knew your chops you were fine.

At Alamy though, it depends whether the moon is full, how grumpy the QA person is, and if there have been any squirrels sighted that day*. You know you’ve done what you can to get your work on the site, but now it’s down to the small gods.So yesterday I spent the day whittling 250 images down to 10 I was  fairly confident of and then tweaking them. I uploaded them, crossed my fingers and prepared for a two week wait before I heard the bad news.

Today I found out that my crossed fingers worked. I have more images up on Alamy and a slightly better understanding of what’s required. The turnaround was lightning quick though. It always used to be two weeks, but this was much less than 24 hours, which makes Alamy a lot more viable for me.

I can’t say I won’t be superstitious when I submit my next batch, but it may just be a prayer to the small gods rather a crossed fingers, toes, and a live sacrifice next time. 😉
*squirrels are the harbingers of DOOM.