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Author: Ian Burley

Legendary Bowens lighting company to go dark

Goodbye Bowens

There are widespread reports from the photo industry that Bowens Lighting is to go into liquidation. The company would have celebrated its centenary in just 6 years time.

Bowens used to rule the roost when it came to lighting rigs for professional photographers. Countless stars and celebrities over the decades where illuminated by Bowens lighting in studios and on location across the globe. So dominant was the company that the company name was often used as the noun that described a photographer’s lighting, particularly studio flash lighting in more recent years.

The company started in the UK as a camera repair specialist in 1923 and later found its niche in studio lighting. It’s true to say that the industry segment Bowens once dominated has now become crowded and very competitive.

  • Do you use Bowens gear – what does the bad news mean to you?
  • Have you switched away from Bowens and, why?
  • Do you have any memorable anecdotes about using Bowens lighting over the years?

Tell us now via the comment box below; we’d love to hear from you!

Are you respecting image copyright?

Press release issued by Copytrack:

Copytrack

Finally revealed: TOP 10 Errors of image use online

Berlin, 11 July 2017: If we´re all honest it´s incredibly easy to find images online. But there’s always that doubt “can I use just use this image or do I still have to ask for permission?” To help with these concerns Copytrack introduces the top ten biggest misunderstandings of using unknown images online. A massive issue on internet, especially on social media.

1.No crop can cut copyright: Altered pictures are copyrighted

When someone wants to edit a photo, whether it´s changing colour, size and then use it for their own purpose, the copyright still needs to be obtained. Only if “free use” is stated or the original image is barely recognizable, permission from the copyright holder is not needed.  You have to be careful what “free use” means though, as it varies for each image.

2.Not true: A lawfully acquired license lets you do everything

In order to be able to advertise a product range, companies hire photographers to create product pictures and then acquire special licenses for images. The terms of the licenses are usually very specific, and the picture can´t simply be used for other purposes. The manufacturers’ licenses do not automatically apply to the product distributors.

3.Extra, extra, read all about it: Newspapers spread easily online

Scans, screenshots or photos from newspaper articles are often shared a lot online. However, copyright still needs to be taken into consideration when sharing newspaper articles. The publishers are usually legal owners of the texts. But that might not be the same when it comes to the pictures.

4.Always check: The worldwide web can be a large free image database

Searching for images on the net is very easy and fruitful. However, images extracted from search engines are still copyrighted. Often the image sources and the copyright owners are not immediately visible. Despite this the copyright owner always has to be researched and the conditions for the image usage have to be clarified. Otherwise you could be paying for your mistake.

5.Ignorance is not bliss: Licenses can be distributed easily

Anyone commissioning an image and acquiring the license for the use of this image does not automatically have the right to pass the image on to a third party. Copytrack has a lot of experience of dealing with cases where images are shared to third parties without a proper licence.  When the third party uses the image without a proper license- he is still at risk. Licenses always need to be checked.

6.How free can it be? Make sure you understand CC licences

Images marked with a creative commons licence are actually available free of charge to the delight of many. But they are still copyrighted. Before use, it is also necessary to check the terms of the CC license as they vary, for example check if the photo be edited or can it be used for commercial use.

7.Mistake: copyright protection is not just for private individuals

Here is a double misunderstanding of many image users: not only professional photographers, but also amateurs have instant copyright when creating photos.

Secondly, it is irrelevant whether or not an image has been used for private or commercial purposes. Unauthorized use can always lead to copyright abuse.

8.Mistake: Stock photos can be used as desired

If you want to use stock images, you acquire a certain license (standard or exclusive), which may look different for editorial or commercial use. If a stock image is used onto a company blog, this can soon be confused with editorial use. However, since the blog is a company and this usually increases the click rate, a commercial usage license must be purchased. When purchasing a standard license for commercial image use, it is also important to note that stock images, which are distributed online, have different licensing rules depending on the site that sells them.

9.Irritating: Everything made, can´t always be sellable

Using an image without permission is illegal. Just because others might do the same, it doesn’t mean you’re protected. Individuals are always responsible to check they have the right to use photos online. Those who make these mistakes are just the same as image right abusers. Ignorance helps nobody when it comes to image rights, so always be aware of what you´re sharing.

10.eBay- Auctions offers with product photos

Whoever uses original product photos for private eBay auctions puts themselves at risk of image theft. When someone sells a product they don’t suddenly get the right to use the original product photos. The best option is to take a little time and take a photo yourself.

About Copytrack:

Copytrack (www.copytrack.com) was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and currently employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service supports photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers. It includes a risk-free search of the global Internet for image and graphics data uploaded by users at Copytrack are found with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers define if images are used without a license and even determine the amount of subsequent fees supported by an automatic license calculator on the portal. Copytrack is fully responsible for an out-of-court solution in over 140 countries as well as a legal solution in the areas relevant to copyright law. If the image has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.

Photobucket free account users left high and dry

Potentially millions of users caught out by Photobucket’s radical change to its Terms of Service

Photobucket is currently subject to a storm of social media protests

Photobucket is one of the biggest online services for storing your photos. The company claims to have around 100 million customers and to host some 15 billion images. Unfortunately, many of those customers are discovering that their photos hosted on Photobucket but also linked to and displayed on third party sites, are no longer visible. Instead, they have been replaced by a generic graphic explaining that 3rd party hosting has been temporarily suspended. Photobucket users are, unsurprisingly, furious. The change means millions of images on third party sites from blogs to discussion forums and even on e Commerce sites like Amazon and eBay, are now not being shown.

 

What’s happened is that Photobucket changed its Terms of Service for users of its free service accounts. From this month users of basic free Photobucket accounts can’t deep-link their images on third party sites. The problem is that the block is retrospective and very few Photobucket users noticed the radical change buried deep in the Terms of Service, never mind the potential consequences.

At the time of writing the only obvious way to reverse the effects of the image ban was to upgrade to a paid-for Photobucket Plus account, which costs $399 per year.

Are you affected by the Photobucket policy change? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comment section below.

Relonch announces $99 a month camera

California start-up gambles on $99 a month camera as a service offering

Not since the Pentak K-01, almost five years ago, have I seen anything quite as bizarre as the Relonch 291 camera; a $99 a month camera. But in this day and age being bizarre is not necessarily an indicator of guaranteed failure. As we know only too well from this year, it’s been difficult to predict winners, no matter how bizarre. However, the Pentax K-01 was both bizarre and a failure.

But back to the camera, or should that be the service? If you go for the Relonch 291 you will be, in one way, getting the camera for free. Instead you will be paying $99 per month for the service that the camera is entirely dependent on. That service is called Pictured Technology. It receives all your photos via an LTE (4G) mobile data connection. It then automatically massages them into shape digitally. In theory, you get an online portfolio of perfect photos without going anywhere near image processing software. To manage your account and view your photos you will use a Relonch app.

Pictured Technology image processing is, we’re told, clever enough to convert camera images like that on the left into results like that on the right

Simplicity is the name of the game here. The camera, appears to be a re-purposed Samsung Galaxy NX disguised in a stitched leather jacket. It has only one button; the shutter release, apart from the power switch. There is no rear screen (one of the more striking features of the Galaxy NX which had a massive 4.8 inch LCD). Thankfully, there is an electronic viewfinder and, if our hunch is correct, like the Samsung Galaxy NX, it will be an SVGA 800×600 pixel affair, which isn’t really cutting edge any more. The Galaxy NX also sported a 20 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor which is, presumably, shared with the Relonch 291.

A noticeable aspect of the launch news is the dearth of technical information about the hardware. It may be that Relonch aren’t keen to dwell on a set of specifications that betrays the camera’s three year old bones. That word, ‘bones’, is pretty apt, too, since the Galaxy NX was a commercial failure. Samsung, itself, killed off its camera division two years later. It doesn’t look like you can change lenses, which you could with the NX. In fact without any obvious controls it also appears that the Relonch 291 doesn’t even have a zoom lens.

Clearly, Relonch are gambling on the 291 becoming a must-have style accessory, a high-tech-low-tech fashion icon. The target audience has been identified as those who would like good photos but not have to think about the technical side of making them good. What we have here is a camera that should deliver much better quality photos than a smartphone, with even more simplicity. In many ways it will work like a smartphone camera, sending images to the cloud but your $99 a month pays for the premium photo processing service that Pictured Technology is being portrayed as being. Whether or not the extreme simplicity of the camera itself will be a hindrance or not remains to be seen. But Relonch have really taken ‘point-and-shoot” to its extreme.

Tell us what you think of the Relonch 291 and if it could tempt you to sign up for $99 a month.

 

Press release issued by Relonch:

Relonch Camera-as-a-Service Lets Members Have Remarkable Photos

World’s first camera-as-a-service model aims to deliver an experience that will make you reconsider how you capture everyday moments

PALO ALTO, CALIF., December 13, 2016 — Today, Relonch unveiled its camera-as-a-service at the company’s showroom located in the heart of Silicon Valley on downtown Palo Alto’s main drag. With the press of a single button, Relonch 291 takes photos that automatically upload to Relonch’s server over LTE for processing and distribution. This simple sequence solves for what Relonch refers to as the “chain of pain” associated with producing professional-looking images. You won’t need to fuss with confusing camera settings, tedious file downloads, manual image sorting and laborious photo editing.

“There’s nothing valuable about owning a camera that collects dust on the shelf or that you don’t know how to use” said Relonch co-founder Yuri Motin. “Our aim is to eliminate the countless complications associated with photography so we chose to create the camera as a service model rather than just hardware or software. Our service gives members the ability to solely focus on the experience, on the moment itself.”

Do you want to try it? Sign up for a three-day test drive by visiting the showroom. If you’re already a believer, register online to become a member. The service will be available globally in 2018 and includes:

  • a camera that is preset to take great photos;
  • an algorithm-based approach to developing photos called Pictured Technology; and
  • a mobile application for receiving and storing your Relonch images.

CEO and co-founder of Relonch Sergey Korzhenevich explains, “Even high-end cameras tend to disappoint most people because pictures rarely capture what they actually saw. Relonch members could be camera savvy but don’t need to be because our preset camera and Pictured Technology takes care of everything.”

Pictured Technology is the Relonch approach to photo processing. Every object within a frame is processed independently based on the company’s professionally edited photo stacks and algorithms. Members will see a great difference between Relonch photos and ones where you apply a single filter to the entire photo. Given that lighting conditions are factored into the algorithms, photos actually look like what you pictured.

“The nuances associated with capturing outstanding photos make it hard for average photo enthusiasts to find true satisfaction. We know that will change if they switch to our camera-as-a-service model,” added co-founder Nikolay Babich. “All you need to do is believe that you can take remarkable photos of your everyday life and find value in the simplicity of our process—one-click, automatic upload, and next-day delivery of photos.”

The Relonch mobile application is where you’ll receive your processed photos. You’ll no longer need to sift through thousands of raw image files to find the best ones. Relonch will select and process your photos for you. Each morning, Relonch will directly deliver your best photos to the Relonch app. In addition, members will be able to select their favorite photo of the day to create a personal collection of your best 365 images, highlighting your life’s best moments over the course of the year.

About Relonch

Founded in New York City, Relonch, Inc. is reinventing the photography experience with the world’s first camera-as-a-service. Relonch has reduced the complexity of professional photography to a single shutter button. See more on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or in person at the company’s showroom.

Here is a gallery of Relonch product images as well as lifestyle and service example images.

Image post processing; see how an image is developed

Revealed! Image post processing: The development of a photograph from the camera through the post-processing to the final result, stage by stage

If you have ever wondered how an image that caught your eye started out, how the photographer made it the striking image you see through image post processing; this article aims to give you some insight. Do you have some great images you’d like to share with our readers with in the same way? Let us know!

 

The before and after view above demonstrates my thought when I had finished knocking this image into shape; it was so different to how it started out from the in-camera image I had snapped. It was very simple to do, talk a matter of minutes and didn’t even involve any cropping of the scene. I thought it would be fun to reveal what I did to obtain the effects I achieved. To find out what I did, stage by stage, click on the gallery thumbnails below:

 

A top tip for this kind of project is – experiment! Try the effects sliders, in both directions, though make a not of where the starting point was just in case. Don’t be afraid to wind back some of the effects later on if, combined with other applied later, they become to severe.

If you have a good example of a dramatic transformation from dull unprocessed camera image to eye-opening masterpiece, let us know and we’ll feature it in an article just like this.