Instagram Changes Its Policies

From my urinal project.

From my urinal project.

I, like many photographers, have an account on Instagram. I rarely use it, but occasionally I'll share something there.  Yesterday, I heard about a change in their terms of use that I found very disturbing. While many focused on the ability of Instagram to use a photographer's photo in an ad without compensation other than the use of the service, I saw something else that is making me reconsider my account there.

From their terms of use:

Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf. [Emphasis added}

My issue is that they can take my image and username and use it to endorse a product that I may or may not like. In my book, using my name and likeness to sell a product without my consent is wrong, immoral and unethical. It saddens me that they would have the language.

Fortunately they seem to be listening to their users. In a new post today on the Instagram Blog they said that they would be removing language where they could use the photos.  I look forward to seeing if they change the language about using my name and likeness as well. I don't mind ads, something has to pay for the service.  Nothing is free after all.

I did see that the New York Times had a good review of the policy I suggest you read. And if you are wanting to leave, I suggest you read this Wired article.

And I'll be keeping my eye out...

Portraits of beauty, pride |

This weekend I was able to take part in the Help-Portrait project again. For those of you not familiar with the event, every year thousands of photographers across the country get together to take portraits of people in need. We are joined by volunteers who do make-up and picture editing, along with those who just wish to give. Everyone who poses gets a copy of their picture printed and framed.

The Observer came out and did a great writeup of the event, I was even lucky enough to be seen shooting at this even, and got my picture on their website.  You can read their full article here. While it was fun getting seen there, I liked the fact that the event got such great publicity. Front page of the Observer on the Monday edition isn't bad. Hopefully it will mean better recognition for the group next year.

This is the third year I have helped out, and I find it both fulfilling as I get to see the light in the client's eyes, and I get to learn my craft better. I have seen both my technical and social skills grow with each event.

Image curtsey of @Rae_Images. Used with permission.

Image curtsey of @Rae_Images. Used with permission.