Be Wary of the Wellcome Photography Prize

The Wellcome Trust is the world’s second largest charitable trust with an endowment of approximately £23.2 billion (~$30 billion). For the past 20 years, it has produced a photo contest called the Wellcome Image Awards, and this year, it rebranded the contest as the Wellcome Photography Prize. The Prize is free to enter, and images can be submitted into one of four categories. Each category winner receives £1,250 while the overall winner receives a prize of £15,000 (~USD$19,000). Furthermore, the winners and shortlisted entries will be displayed at the Lethaby Gallery of the University of the Arts London. My
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Backyard Adventures: Rethinking the Art of the Travel Photo

The Lofoten archipelago is one of the most photographed regions in Norway. Its images have flooded social media in the last couple of years — certainly both you and I have seen them. And at some point, both you and I have been dreaming of visiting either Lofoten or other places we have seen in the form of breathtaking imagery. I have finally made it to my dream location in June 2018, and it was exactly as I have seen on photographs. I made sure I stopped in all the places recommended by other photographers and pressed the shutter button
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The Case Against the Photo Watermark

Inevitably a time will come around when a budding photographer decides to start “taking this seriously,” “discouraging image theft,” and (my personal favorite), “gaining exposure.” And they do this, of course, with a watermark. Now mind you, before I get to the nitty-gritty of why this is BS, I’ll cover the surface level problem with this. First, 9/10 watermarks made by a beginner look horrendous. Too big, too small, too opaque, too transparent, or gaudy. Not to mention most beginners haven’t settled into a legitimate business name by the time they start watermarking images. So ten years later they
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What it Was Like to Move My Photo Business Across the Country

It’s 7:30 in the morning in Winnipeg and my wife awakens me to share the news that she has just gotten the job she has always wanted in Toronto. It has been six months since we had first planned our move to Toronto. All of the sudden, we were moving across the country in 3 weeks. This just got real. I grew up in a small town outside Winnipeg, Manitoba. I like to joke that on a good day there were ten people who resided there. After graduating photography school in 2011, I found out quickly that the only way
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Street Photography and Photographing Children

Imagine, you’re partaking in Pedestrian Sunday at Kensington Market on a sunny summer afternoon in Toronto, Canada, walking around with your Fuji X100F in hand looking for that Cartier-Bresson “decisive moment.” Suddenly you see a child leaning against a dilapidated, graffiti-splashed wall the likes of which would make Banksy nod in approval. The child has his mug buried into an ice cream cone, working it over like a worldwide ban on ice cream is but hours away. Maybe he has a red, child-sized “Make America Great Again” cap on, along with a pair of oversized “Blues Brothers” sunglasses and
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I Gave Up on Squarespace and Built My Own Photo Website from Scratch

For the past several years my photography website called Squarespace home. Among online, fully-contained, content management systems, it is hard to go wrong with Squarespace. Offering domain registration and hosting, plus well-crafted templates, Squarespace makes it easy to create a professional looking website. Squarespace has many benefits. Their choices of templates are great, they are visually appealing and generally function for the purposes for which they were built. Want to add e-commerce to your website? Simple. Want to start blogging? Add a blogging page and the rest is done for you. Need technical support? A chatroom or phone call away.
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How Caffeine Made Me Kill My $2,400 Sony RX1 Camera

Here’s a warning to all the photographers out there: caffeine and complicated camera repairs do not mix well. I found out the hard way and killed my $2,400 Sony RX1 full frame compact camera. After drinking a cup too many espressos, I finally decided to clean the sensor of my beloved Sony RX1, a job that I had postponed for months while only shooting it at f/2. This is a camera that has a reputation of being expensive — Sony used to charge $1,000 just for a sensor cleaning. Being cheap and full of caffeine, I decided that the day
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What is Missing from Photography

It has been bugging me for a while now: there is just something that is missing from photography. From my personal work to the majority of photographers out there. I’m talking about the photos on your feeds, be it personal to commercial. It has been bugging me and I finally found out what it is: what is missing from photography is stories. A disclaimer, I’m not talking about photojournalism, or anything relating to the Pulitzer Prize. Those are photos with real stories that are important and need to be shared and told to the world. The photography I’m talking about
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The Most Important Photo

Sometimes we put things off so many times that the act of delaying that thing becomes automatic. “I’ll get to that thing tomorrow”, and tomorrow comes, tomorrow goes, and that thing never gets taken care of. I fell into that trap, and the thing that kept being put off was taking portraits of my parents. “I really need to make some portraits of my parents,” I would say, “because at some point I won’t be able to do it.” I’d say it over and over and put it off again and again. My wife would say, “You really should
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My Drama With Hasselblad, Bullying, and Their Latest Comparisons

As a photographer and YouTuber, I review equipment and photography related gear on my channel. There are occasions when certain items receive less than positive reviews and, in most circumstances, the company in question operates in a very professional manner. Unfortunately, this isn’t true in every case and after I reviewed the Hasselblad H6D 100c, Hasselblad weren’t too happy with me. It was early last year when I reviewed the flagship Hasselblad camera comparing it to several full-frame cameras and an iPhone. Initially, Hasselblad were fine with the reviews and actually gave me more equipment to test and review.
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Ethical Exif (EE) for Wildlife Photos

One of my least favorite shots from Sani lodge now serves as a constant reminder of poor practice to me. This subject was one of many subjects collected by Tropical Herping working on a photographic field manual of Herps in Ecuador. This parrot snake (Leptophis ahaetulla) was played with. It was grabbed by the tail and gently swirled in circles. Then it was gently batted about the head, to engage in defensive gaping (an open-mouthed threat display). This occurs naturally to a certain extent, but with more stress, the defensive gape is held for longer. There were more than 30
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#DiversifyTheLens: The Importance of Hiring Women Photographers

The current boom of female-first initiatives is transforming the creative industry, providing opportunities for women to find mentorship, addressing discrepancies in pay, and helping women rally together to drive new policies and practices. Actions such as the 3 Percent Movement, 50/50 Initiative, and #TimesUpAdvertising have thrust these issues into the spotlight and gained significant attention and traction. But we can do more. Women photographers are still grossly underrepresented when it comes time to hire for big advertising campaigns and magazine covers, despite the fact that women account for:

Dear Newbie Wedding Photographer, Here’s Some Honest Advice…

Last week I received an email from a local wife-and-husband team of wedding photographers. Here’s what it said…
We hope your wedding season is going well and you are enjoying this beautiful weather! We are a husband and wife photography team based out of [a Wisconsin area] who still have dates available to book for weddings this year and next. We would love to be able to coordinate with you on dates that you may already have booked but are getting inquiries from prospective couples. As part of this collaboration, we would like to offer you $50 for each booked
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Is It Okay for Street Photographers to Take Photos of Private Messages?

This week Business Insider ran a story that covered images taken by a street photographer of people’s private phone messages. That photographer was the highly respected Jeff Mermelstein, someone who has a long list of celebrated work. While all images were taken in public places, they do contain a level information that the subjects may not want the world to know about. While no law has been broken, it could be argued that this is a lack of respect for a person’s privacy, raising the question – is it okay to photograph people’s private messages?

How I Lost My 8-Year-Old Photography Website

This is the story and all the messy details of how I lost my photography business’ 8-year-old website at Bludomain, a hosting service “for the creative professional.” Last week was busy! Along with a regular schedule of newborn sessions, family sessions, and maternity sessions here in my studio, editing, album design, and ordering appointments. I had a workshop coming up over the weekend that I would be teaching here in the studio, then a quick flight to Florida for a beach session, and then a couple days later a short, much-needed vacation with my husband. And then the
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Now is the Best Time EVER to Be a Photographer

Right now is the best time ever to be a photographer, so why all the long faces?
  • Professional level cameras are selling for less than what we paid for one in 1980.
  • Lower priced lenses are so much better than they used to be it is astounding.
  • You can do all your development in the light, in a chair, without breathing life-threatening chemistry.
  • There are more possible ways to show your finished work than you can list at any given time.
  • A $1,000 laptop takes the place of a 12×12 darkroom and thousands of dollars of gear.
  • Need an answer
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Visual Self Harm: Images I Don’t Want to See

I found an image that I don’t want to see. Too familiar, and so, too hurtful. But as the Internet meme jokes, “What has been seen can’t be unseen.” In that context, such images are considered shocking, graphic, violent. The image I refer to, however, is far removed from any of these labels. But for me, there it is, that Punctum that Barthes spoke of. As I write, Google Chrome suggests the correct spelling is ‘puncture’ — how appropriate.

A source of what could be considered ’emotional pain’, and I can only speak for myself, comes from the lack

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Article 13 in the EU: What Does it Mean for Photos?

Just this past week, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs approved amendments to EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which includes the infamous Article 13. The article “creates an obligation on information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users to take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightsholders and to prevent the availability on their services of content identified by rightsholders in cooperation with the service providers.” In other words, no authorization from the copyright holder,
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Article 13 in the EU: What Does it Mean for Photos?

Just this past week, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs approved amendments to EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which includes the infamous Article 13. The article “creates an obligation on information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users to take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightsholders and to prevent the availability on their services of content identified by rightsholders in cooperation with the service providers.” In other words, no authorization from the copyright holder,
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‘Great Photos! You Must Have a Great Camera!’

“Great photos! You must have a great camera!” If you take your craft seriously, the odds of having heard these words are quite high. Audiences associate good images with great cameras, and for the longest time this (almost) accusation has bothered photographers who felt their skills were downplayed. But the interesting bit is that we’re walking towards making the “great cameras = great photos” equation true! And they fit in your pocket.
Speaking of great cameras, here’s an Arri Alexa with a cinema prime!
Before I started for real with photography and cinematography – more than ten years ago
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