Saturday, December 22

Week 5 of the Life's a photo campaign - night

I love Amsterdam by night. Amsterdam is a beautiful city regardless, but there is no other city like Amsterdam at night. I have so many pictures from this assignment, I found it very hard to choose just 4 to deliver. And Samsung picked 2 pics for their campaign page. Which 2 pics would you choose?? Take a look at the campaign page on tumblr to see which two pics Samsung picked:) 

Also a bit fun; all 4 photographers in Amsterdam took the first shot below, not knowing that the others had the taken same pic:)  We explored the city on our own this week, and still ended up with many of the same/similar shots. 

Wednesday, December 19

Instagram drama - please calm down!

Morning!! Boy what a drama yesterday!! Have everybody calmed down a bit? People really love to hate FB don't they? And the day they bought "our" beloved little app is the day the drama started. Has anyone noticed the positive things that have come from the fusion though? People tend to focus on the negative like the spam or the downfall of the pop page. The thing is, we cant blame IG or FB for the spam, it's a result of the app getting big, attracting all kinds of users and exploiters. In fact they are doing a lot to fight the spam, and it has gotten better. Remember those F4F's and L4L'a? Gone. Just sayin... I'm not saying everything is perfect, but when is it ever?

Now about yesterday's drama. I know legal talk is very hard to understand. Fact is that every online service has TOS and I'm sure that if we took them all apart, we could find something to cry about in everyone of them. Something similar happened when Pinterest changed their TOS and they changed the language after protests. For some reason, people want to believe the worse about IG now that they are owned by FB, so everything they do is over dramatized and criticized. I agree that it's good to be critical, but the paranoia about FB/Ig is extreme. This is why I choose to use common sense and choose to believe Kevin in his reply to the critics and when he says they are sorry about using bad legal language and that nothing has changed in the way they will use our pics. It's good that we show them that we won't accept anything and that we want clarity, and language we can understand, but remember it's so much easier to believe the worse. That's the way it always has been and probably always will be. I think the article on The Verge about the new Instagram TOS gives us a levelheaded view on the hole thing. And if you haven't seen my last post here, it might be an idea to read that too:)

Instagram know that they need their users to survive, more than we need them, and that's a very important fact. They cannot build a business plan on exploiting their users. The users would leave or the quality of the pics they would upload would be useless and bad. Simple as that. 

Conclusion: be critical, but use your common sense and don't jump to conclusions before you know the hole picture. I'm staying, in fact I was never leaving. Hope you'll stay too, cause there really is no other place like Instagram:)

Tuesday, December 18

Instagrams new terms of services - what's the fuzz?

There’s a lot of discussions and articles about Instagram’s new terms of Service, effective on Jan. 16th 2013. For different reasons, I decided to write a post with my personal opinion and thoughts regarding these, discussing some of the main concerns raised.

I’m not a legal expert, nor am I a technical expert in social media other than being a user of many of the services out there. I write this post as an avid and experienced user of different services (like FB, Instagram, Flickr, twitter, foursquare, ++) and I’d like to call myself an expert in practical and logical thinking :). I’d like to note that this is my personal opinion, based on my way of thinking and my way of interpreting the legal terms discussed in some of the articles published about the new terms.

Before I start, maybe everyone should take a moment to think through how life would be without the services that "uses" us (like FB, twitter, google, Instagram +++++) If you want to stay private, the only way is to not use these services AT ALL, don't post anything online, don’t registre or order anywhere online, payed or not payed service. They all use our information.

Now about those terms. If you read the legal terms on their own, of course they sound scary (at least if you understand them:)). If you start putting them in practical examples combined with some pure logic, they might be less scary.

What’s an example of  “using your username and photo in an ad” ? Have you ever had FB suggesting new friends? Based on the fact that you have several friends in common, they suggest that you know eachother. This is an ad, it probably isn’t recognized by you as one, but it is, and FB is using your data  and your picture to make the suggestion to someone who might be a friend, but also might be a total stranger.

Have you ever registerd to a new service, i.e. pinterest, twitter, Instagram etc. and been asked to “find friends on FB”? This is a service provided by FB to third parties. They give the new service access to their users database and based on your email address they know who your friends are.

Have you ever stopped to think about why you get adds on FB that actually fits your interests? If you have registred somewhere that you are interested in photography, you get adds that are related to photography. That’s another example of FB using your data and giving it to third partys. I’m not bothered by this, because I’m not letting it bother me. I ignore it. If you don’t want this to happen, don’t put your interests out there.

Now about that logical thinking. Think about this: FB and Instagram needs us more than we need them. I repeat, Instagram needs us more than we need them!!!!

What would they be without their users? Would they really do something that made all the users stop using them??? I really don’t think so. They may have put some legal terms down to cover their backs, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to use them litterally and fully. Yes, they will use our data, give information about how many of us are interested in photography to third partys, give information about what places we visit, what we eat etc., but so do other services to which we registre. This is not something new. If you don’t want geographic/location information to be shared, don’t use the geo tag on your pictures or foursquare or “places” on FB. Only YOU can control this and you have the option to not give this information away. They can only use information that YOU give them. Just as they can only use pictures that YOU publish.

Now, take a minute to think about what it is exactly that you are you worried about that Instagram will do with the new terms. Are you worried that Instagram starts stealing your pictures and uses them to make money? I am not. I repeat I am NOT! This is where my logical thinking comes in. Have you ever read the Instagram blog? If you have, have you noticed that they always credit the owner of the pics that they publish? What does that tell you? Who wouldn't like to have their picture featured on that blog? You don't get payed for it, but it's a fantastic and valuable, not to forget honorable exposure. Do you still think that Instagram will steal your pictures and make money from them? What would that bring them exept unhappy “customers”? There’s no way Instagram (or FB for that matter) would survive and keep their users if they started using their pictures in a way that violated the owners copyrights. Believe me, they (they as in Instagram and FB and all the other services) know this, they know there are enough sites out there that monitor EVERYTHING they do, and like I said before: They need us more than we need them. And they know it.

I guess you already know that anyone who can see your pictures on FB or Instagram (or Flickr) can download them or copy them very easily. If you are worried about them being stolen, that’s a genuine worry, but I am much more worried about people, “friends” (as in followers on IG or twitter, or friends on FB) or just random people stealing them than I am in Instagram or FB doing it. The only way to reduce/avoid stealing is to watermark them, use low quality pics only or not post them at all. As a photographer, depending on selling my pictures and products to earn money,  I worry about this too of course. But I think the benefits of publishing and sharing my pictures online is much greater than not sharing. It’s a choice that I have made and up till now it has helped me get where I am today. My business would have been close to nothing if I hadn’t had social media to share and show my work.

I hope I made some sense here, at least to some of you. Remember, I'm saying this as a user of social media, not claiming to be an expert in legal or technical terms, just using my common sense and probably some female intuition:) Now it’s up to you to decide what is best for you and try to see all sides before you decide. Good luck!!!

Friday, December 14

4th week of the Life's a photo campaign - waterfall

As you can see, these aren't exactly waterfalls, but as there really aren't any waterfalls in Amsterdam, I decided to use the "waterfall function" differently. The function basically means long shutter time, which smoothes out movement in the water or other moving objects. These are my 3 favorite pictures taken with this function and taken for this weeks assignment. Please vote for Amsterdam if you think Amsterdam deserves to be the most photogenic city:)

3rd week of the Life's a photo campaign - silhouette

These are some of my silhouette pictures taken for the 3rd week of the campaign. Take a look at all the Amsterdam pictures here and the hole campaign here. Lots of photographic inspiration find your way:)

Wednesday, December 5

Simply selling greeting cards

Created and distributed with love:)
How would you like to buy some greeting cards created and distributed with love and a personal touch? They make a great christmas or birthday present:) As the title says, I have started selling my Simply cards. As this time of year is too busy for me to set up a professional shop, I have decided to do it the old fashion and personal way; order by email here:) 

If you are interested in buying my cards, just send me an email with your order, stating which country you live in and full name. I will send you an invoice through paypal and have your cards sent within a few days.

They can be purchased in sets or individually. They are delivered with white envelopes (incl. in the price).

The options you have are as follows:

Set of 6 Simply bird cards (same motive with different colors):   €20,- (first pic)
Set of 4 Simply animals (see pic 3, nr. 1 - 4) €15,-
Set of 4 Simply flowers (see pic 4, nr. 5 - 8) €15,-
Set of 4 Simply art (see pic 5, nr. 9 - 12) €15,-

Or you can put together your own collections (from the cards in the pics):

1 card €5,-
3 cards €12,-
4 cards €15,-
5 cards €18,-
6 cards €20,-
10 cards €32,-
20 cards €60,-

If you choose to build your own collections, tell me the number of the card (as labeled on the pic) and how many. Delivery costs will have to be added and will depend on destination. I will let you know before confirming order. I've already shipped several packages overseas (to USA), and that costs € 5,70 as an example/indication.

Simply birds, 6 cards
Simply Animals, 4 cards

Simply flowers, 4 cards
Simply cards