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Image theft should be a thing of the past – a personal story

We’re used to seeing images shared on social media, especially on feature accounts where this is considered normal. Photographers put a lot of time and effort into creating great images and once in a while we see our work stolen. This happened to me recently and I’d like to share the story with you. I’m […]

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These are the five things I hate on Instagram as a creator

Whether we like it or not, Instagram is still one of the best places for creators to showcase their work. Whether it’s photography, video, or any other kind of creative work, you’ll find many creatives on this platform. I’m one of them, sharing my articles and recipes, and I used to manage a YouTuber’s profile. […]

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Animal Shelter Photographs Older Dogs Dressed as Senior Citizens to Encourage Adoption

Senior dogs are typically harder to find homes for than younger puppies but are no less in need of a home. To help encourage their adoption, the Flagler Humane Society has playfully dressed these older dogs as senior citizens in an ongoing photo series.

As reported by CBS News and My Modern Met, the idea for the photo shoot was originally created as part of the “Clear the Shelters” month of August earlier this year, but has continued through November as it is “Adopt a Senior Pet Month.”

The Humane Society staff brainstormed ways to aid in the adoption of these dogs, and since one of the office managers, Kyndra Mott, was a photographer, they came up with the fun promotion.

The result is an ongoing series of photos featuring a dog in need of a home dressed in hats, wigs, and glasses and accompanied by bags and jewelry normally seen on human senior citizens. The adoption campaign has largely been successful, as more prospective adopters have become aware of the animals: on the last reported update, all but three of the senior dogs have found homes.

The Flagler Humane Society is based in Palm Coast, Florida, and is committed to the welfare of animals. The organization provides shelter and care them as well as programs and access to services that aim to enhance the bond between animals and people. The organization was founded in 1980 and takes in unwanted animals in Flagler County and the surrounding areas.

If you’re interested in adopting any of these dogs or others who need homes, you can contact your local humane society or donate to the American Humane Society. If you’re in the Flagler County area, you can reach out to the Flagler Humane Society specifically here.

(via Laughing Squid and My Modern Met)

Report: Facebook will get sued over acquisition of Instagram

As we all know by now, Instagram is a part of Facebook and it has been like this since 2012. But the historic acquisition could face antitrust charges. According to some reports, Federal and state investigators are about to sue Facebook because its acquisition of Instagram was an attempt to protect itself from the competition. […]

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Officials Warn Against ‘Instagram Hikers’ Venturing to Plane Crash Site

A popular COVID lockdown photo location in Higher Shelf Stones, England has become dangerous for “Instagram Hikers” as winter approaches. Volunteer mountain rescue teams have advised against visiting after being called out multiple times to assist ill-prepared visitors.

The crash site is known as the Peak District Air Accident and involved a Boeing RB-29A 44-61999 of the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron of the United States Air Force, which crash-landed due to fog at Higher Shelf Stones on November 3, 1948. All thirty-three members of the crew died in the crash.

According to The Guardian, the location has become a popular Instagram photo site during COVID-19 lockdown, where hikers reportedly flocked to the location to take photos of the debris.

However, as winter approaches, the landscape has become increasingly dangerous and the nearby Glossop mountain rescue team has begun urging visitors to be prepared for poor weather and difficult terrain.

Two Callouts Sunday 15/11/20

The first callout of the day came in at 15.15, reports of a female with a lower leg…

Posted by Glossop Mountain Rescue Team on Monday, November 16, 2020

While the volunteer rescue team has been called out multiple times to assist injured hikers, they also have wasted hours looking for visitors who had long since reached safety before the team arrived.

Glossop Mountain Rescue Team issue plea after second search for walkers who were already at home.

Glossop Mountain…

Posted by Glossop Mountain Rescue Team on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Guardian reports that in one such case, the team searched for hours in the area for a hiker they had been alerted to as injured, and when they could not find the missing party became increasingly worried. However, later that night they were made aware of the hiker’s safety at home, some distance away.

“This has happened twice in recent weeks,” said Patch Haley, the rescue team lead, to The Guardian. “We’re always glad to hear that people are safe, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep us informed. If people do make their own way down after they call emergency services for assistance, it’s vital they let us know via 101. My fear is that with higher volumes of walkers visiting the area during lockdown, more of these false alarms will leave our rescue team overstretched, and at risk of struggling to reach those who are genuinely in need of urgent assistance.”

(via The Guardian)

Time is a Flat Circle: ‘Fleets’ Are Instagram Stories, But For Twitter

Instead of giving users an edit button, Twitter instead today rolled out a new feature called Fleets. Fleets are a knockoff of Instagram Stories, which are of course a knockoff of Snapchat Stories. Time is a flat circle.

As announced via the company’s blog earlier this morning, Twitter says Fleets were created to give users a way to get around the permanence and public-nature of a tweet. You know, the basic, core feature of the company’s business. Twitter is giving users a different yet extremely familiar alternative: Instagram Stor- I mean Fleets.

A Fleet can contain text, a tweet, a video, or photos. Viewers can react and respond to them based on your privacy settings, but the reactions are very much in line with what we have become accustomed to with how this feature has been rolled out ad nausium across the social media landscape:

Fleets are visible to your followers via the home timeline. Fleets are only visible to anyone if they can view your full profile, and if you have open Direct Messages anyone can reply to them.

But some of you tell us that Tweeting is uncomfortable because it feels so public, so permanent, and like there’s so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes. That’s why, unfortunately, there are so many 🔥 Tweets left in drafts!


According to the announcement, Twitter intends Fleets to be a place for sharing momentary thoughts, and just like every other iteration of this concept, a Fleet will only stick around for 24 hours.

“Through our tests in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, we learned Fleets helped people feel more comfortable joining the conversation – we saw people with Fleets talk more on Twitter,” the blog reads. “Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind.”

You would think a platform designed around pithy, to-the-point statements would be as easy a way to share thoughts as possible, but apparently picking up another company’s concept and plopping it hastily into yours was a necessary evolution for the social media giant.

Twitter can give any reason it wants to for adding this feature, the bottom line is that they see the success of Instagram Stories and want a piece of that action. And to be honest, as much as I didn’t want this and would much rather have had an “edit tweet” button, I’ll probably use it because Twitter is my personal preferred social media – it’s the only one I use now. I may not have asked for it, I may not want it, but it’s here and will probably be immensely popular. It worked on Instagram for a reason: users like the interface and additional communication channels.

Snapchat is probably still upset that the idea of Stories wasn’t patentable.

With the addition of Fleets, there are a huge number of outlets that now are vying for similar content. Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter will be fighting for your view times and creator’s content, along with YouTube and Facebook. Those latter two platforms have seen much more limited success with the idea than Instagram has, where the Stories feature is wildly popular. TikTok’s entire business model is basically a slightly longer Story.

With so many options crowding the marketplace, it’s likely we’ll see a lot of overlap in the coming months as creators decide which platform is most worth their time and effort.

19-Year-Old Builds Booming Business Photographing TikTok Stars

Tati Bruening is a photographer who has found wild success in the unusual niche of photographing TikTok’s biggest celebrities. Bruening, known as Illumitati, has garnered 157,000 followers on Instagram and 900,000 on TikTok, and she has even signed with a talent management firm this month.

An article on Business Insider details the incredible rise to fame that Tati Bruening has experienced.

Her initial start was simple: she just got in touch with TikTok creators by direct messaging them on Instagram.

“I was addicted to TikTok and I would sit and scroll for hours and hours,” Bruening told Business Insider. “I saw the potential in the talent and the e-boy scene. These are good looking boys that could have a career in modeling, why aren’t we taking advantage of this?”

She started her business early just as TikTok was beginning to take off. Now, thanks to her relationship with stars like Chase Hudson, known as Lil Huddy, with his 26 million followers, Chase Keith with his 4 million followers, and Ellie Zeiler with her 7.7 million followers, she boomed in popularity along with them as the social network exploded over the last year.

Bruening was recently signed to Outshine Talent, an agency that specializes in social media creators and innovators.

“I’ve only been doing studio photography for a few months now,” Bruening said. “I was able to connect with bigger and bigger clients because I built my TikTok following and Instagram following so rapidly. It was like if you can’t beat them join them sort of thing. If I can’t get through to them on this level, then I just need to become an influencer.”

The entire story is a fascinating and highly educational piece for photographers who are looking to carve out their own niche to success. It’s easy to dismiss new social media companies like TikTok as a “fad” or “just for kids,” but Bruening is proof positive that anything that is popular can be leveraged into a business if you tackle it from the right perspective. If you do not have access to Business Insider’s “Insider” stories, the entire article was also republished on Yahoo.

Michael Sasser Talks About Dealing With Negativity in the Photo Industry

Many of you, like myself, have gone through the journey of putting yourself out there as a creative. It’s a part of the territory that goes into showing people your work: whether that’s having an Instagram profile and networking, or opening up a YouTube channel. Some of us may go even further and begin teaching and becoming a person that others go to for information about our craft.

In my own journey, I was warned that I’ll never escape horrible comments from people who don’t have anything better to do than to try to tear people down. Eventually, no matter what it was, it was impossible to escape the odd comment here and there that fit that description. Unfortunately, this is just a reality we have to accept in our industry. Even writing for photography blogs, we saw them in moderation where quite a few adults could not control themselves and act like decent humans. With that being said, there were also quite a few great ones, but it’s always the bad ones that stick out.

Recently Michael Sasser made an Instagram story that really connected with me. He shared the comments he received and he started making screenshots of them. Here are a few:

His strategy was was to put comments into two groups: Those who critique as a way to help you, and those who critique as a way to tear you down. Knowing which is which allows you not to waste your energy on those people who only want to see you fail.

We decided to speak over the phone and talk about it in-depth! Not only did we speak about haters in the public but in our private circles as well. Here are a few key takeaways:

  1. Are the haters paying your bills? Are they your target client? If not, focus on people who ARE going to hire you. If you shoot boudoir and a 50 year old man says your pictures aren’t worth what you charge. Who cares? He isn’t who you are catering to.
  2. Negative comments are often a projection of their own personal issues.
  3. When it comes down to success of business, there may be jealousy at play. For instance, they may believe their work is amazing, and seeing someone who they don’t respect as much do better and get more clients can cause them to lash out as a form of projection. Quality of photographs don’t often reflect the prices of a photographer because that is only one aspect of a successful business. They use the wrong metric to decide why someone is worth their rate.
  4. The hate not only comes from the outside but from family as well. When it doesn’t align with their social or moral views, they may lash out at times. Their own personal values instill their feelings toward a topic without taking the time to understand and ask questions. This knee-jerk reaction is unwarranted usually. It also opens up the opportunity to reach out and talk to them about it rather than being reactive.
  5. With boudoir photography, we spoke about how even after trying to educate close friends and family about the industry, he mentioned how some have said that “women shouldn’t need those services to feel validated”. They may never truly understand and that’s okay too. Don’t let that be a reflection of why what you do is valid. Your journey does not require everyone to understand. You can only be available to give them the opportunity to understand.
  6. Speaking of which, fear also plays a role. Their own fear of not being able to pursue their own path causes them to project and judge what you do in hopes it makes their unrealized efforts valid.
  7. You also have to remember why we started, it wasn’t for the likes or comments. Whatever your reason was, keep reminding yourself of that in order to keep going through it when these times test you.
  8. When you really look at it, we all usually receive more positive comments than negative ones even though it may feel quite the opposite. Keep those thoughts in mind and put more weight on them and keep going.
  9. The person leaving negative comments often does so as a form of taking out what they are going through on someone else even if it has no relationship to the comment itself. They will often forget what they said moments later when they move on to the next thing they get annoyed with. So to let it linger on you longer than it is within them is useless.
  10. Even when dealing with clients, negative comments often aren’t attacks as much as they are comments that help them reach the goal of getting a great end product.
  11. People are usually non-confrontational so when it comes time to be confrontational, the initial message usually comes through with high energy that gets amplified when we see it. Similar to what people experience in customer support. They are used to raising their energy to get change. But you can absolutely change the energy of the interaction based on how you respond. This is useful in client situations in particular. It also works when someone is just being horrible, responding positively puts them in a position to reflect on it and adjust their tone too.

Ultimately you end up becoming numb to them or you figure out how to manage negativity in a way that doesn’t impact your drive. Negativity comes from all angles but how we manage it and learn when to expect it can be the key to success.

I hope you found this useful, and thank you to Michael for getting in depth with this topic! It’s much needed. Be sure to follow Michael on Instagram.

About the author: Pratik Naik is a photo retoucher specializing in commercial and editorial work. To see his work, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also published here.

Instagram to Update Nudity Policy After Plus-Sized Model Controversy

After coming under fire for its inconsistencies with how it handled photos of plus-sized model Nyome Nicholas-Williams on its platform, Instagram will update its policy on nudity.

Following a campaign launched in The Observer, the publication has confirmed that Instagram and its parent company Facebook will be updating its policy on nudity in order to curb discrimination of plus-sized black women on its platform.

In August, The Observer published an article alleging that Instagram was censoring images posted by Nyome Nicholas-Williams, known as CurvyNyome on Instagram. According to that article, Nicholas-Williams had uploaded a photo to the platform that depicted her with her arms folded across her breasts.

Within hours, Instagram deleted the photo and warned Nicholas-Williams that her account could be shut down, a feature added to the platform last year.

“Millions of pictures of very naked, skinny white women can be found on Instagram every day,” Nicholas-Williams said to The Observer. “But a fat black woman celebrating her body is banned? It was shocking to me. I feel like I’m being silenced.”

Nicholas-Williams was especially incensed when her problems came after Instagram leadership came out against bias and inequity. In June, CEO Adam Mosseri said he was “hearing concerns about whether we suppress black voices and whether our products and policies treat everyone equally” and that the company was “Addressing the feedback we get has always been an integral part of how we work, and has helped us build a better Instagram for everyone.”

View this post on Instagram

We stand in solidarity with the Black community. But that’s not enough. Words are not enough. That’s why we’re committed to looking at the ways our policies, tools, and processes impact Black people and other underrepresented groups on Instagram. Addressing the feedback we get has always been an integral part of how we work, and has helped us build a better Instagram for everyone. We’re going to focus on four areas: * Harassment * Account verification * Content distribution * Algorithmic bias It’s not enough to simply celebrate or amplify Black voices on Instagram. We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect them as well, and doing so requires we address the specific ways they’re impacted. Our focus will start with Black community, but we’re also going to look at how we can better serve other underrepresented groups. Instagram should be a place where everyone feels safe, supported, and free to express themselves, and I’m hoping this will get us closer to that. Link in bio for more.

A post shared by Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) on

In July, the company’s Vice President of Product Vishal Shah promised to investigate its racist algorithms: “The racial justice movement is a moment of real significance for our company. Any bias in our systems and policies run counter to providing a platform for everyone to express themselves. While we’re always working to create a more equitable experience, we are setting up additional efforts to continue this progress.”

Nicholas-Williams alleged that what Instagram was saying publicly did not align with what was actually happening on the platform. The Observer reported that the company denied Nicholas-Williams had been racially discriminated against but confirmed that its former policy on “boob squeezing” had caused her photos to be removed.

A spokesperson from Instagram confirmed to The Observer that pictures of Nicholas-Williams were originally taken down as “we do not allow breast squeezing because it can be most commonly associated with pornography.”

But after the outcry, Instagram is moving towards adjusting its algorithms and policy. “As we looked into this more closely, we realized it was an instance where our policy on breast squeezing wasn’t being correctly applied. Hearing Nyome’s feedback helped us understand where this policy was falling short, and how we could refine it.”

According to the Observer, the updates to the policy are being rolled out to both Facebook and Instagram and will begin to come into effect “this week.”

View this post on Instagram

Them:”Why do you always have to post pictures nude? Me: “slim white bodies are praised for being nude and appreciating they’re form on this platform all the time and never have images taken down or asked as to why they are posting them” Them: “why does anyone have to be naked”!? Firstly that response is from someone who doesn’t want to address their inner internalised biases and dislike of bigger bodies. We all have bodies, and we can choose to celebrate them in anyway we wish. Renaissance paintings were mostly based around the nude body, I love art so I know!! How have we become so scared to share our art and celebrate our bodies without us being sexualised or being judged by others.🤷🏾‍♀️ This is art, I am art! Thank you for always getting it @alex_cameron your work is unmatched 💥

A post shared by Nyome Nicholas – Williams (@curvynyome) on

Nicholas-Williams sees this as a win and is reportedly “delighted” with the outcome. “This is a huge step and I am glad a dialogue has now been opened,” she told The Observer. “I want to ensure that I am respected and allowed to use spaces like Instagram, as many other creators do, without the worry of being censored and silenced.”

View this post on Instagram

WE FUCKING DID IT!! @ginamartin @alex_cameron and I…we changed an Instagram policy! Look what happens when three women set out to change the world! We have put our heart and souls into this campaign and to see it come to fruition is insane! The observer newspaper (which is out today) has covered the campaign from the beginning and have written another article which highlights the hard work Gina, Alex and I have done (although it states they launched the campaign) this is in fact not the case as Gina, Alex and myself strategised for three months to ensure a change would happen. Hang tight for the full details of the policy change, as I will be detailing more information soon. We worked very hard on this and managed to get Instagram and @mosseri attention and there’s still a lot of work to be done, as black plus sized women continue to be censored in many ways; and white women STILL tried to hijack and make it their campaign. There is of course a huge racial imbalance in the algorithm that still exists as white bodies are promoted and don’t have to worry about censorship of their posts but black bodies still have to justify presence on the platform, this has also been brought to Instagrams attention! But when we put our minds to it… we can achieve literally ANYTHING!! I’d like to thank the 16 amazing humans that put their names to our open letter and that helped us push our campaign forward! The Instagram policy changes on the 28th, it outlines the difference between ‘breast holding’ or ‘cupping’ which is a celebration of body and ‘breast grabbing’ which is deemed to be pornographic, these images are censored to protect underage users but this policy change should allow them to better differentiate self expression/ art from pornographic content. Hopefully this policy change will bring an end to the censorship of fat black bodies. The last three have been absolutely wild to say the least but we move and move things we did! 🙌🏽💫

A post shared by Nyome Nicholas – Williams (@curvynyome) on

(Via The Guardian)