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March 17th, 2016

FTC Wrist-Slaps Lord & Taylor for Deceptive Instagram Campaign

Fashion blogger Cara Santana was one of 50 bloggers paid to post a photo of themselves on Instagram wearing the Lord & Taylor paisley dress shown here. The original Instagram posts did not disclose that they were paid ads.

Fashion blogger Cara Santana was one of 50 bloggers paid to post a photo of themselves on Instagram wearing the Lord & Taylor dress shown here. The original Instagram posts did not disclose that they were paid ads.

Lord & Taylor has agreed to settle federal charges that it deceived consumers by paying fashion “influencers” thousands of dollars each to promote its products on Instagram, without disclosing that the posts were paid advertisements. The retailer was also charged with deceiving consumers by placing a paid article in Nylon magazine without disclosing that the article was a paid ad, the FTC said.

The company’s actions violated federal trade laws against unfair or deceptive marketing. The settlement amounted to a slap on the wrist: The FTC reminded Lord & Taylor that it is prohibited from misrepresenting the sources of its paid ads. The FTC also told Lord & Taylor that it is required to ensure that “influencers” it pays to endorse its products clearly disclose when they have been compensated for those endorsements.

“Lord & Taylor needs to be straight with consumers in its online marketing campaigns,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a prepared statement. “Consumers have the right to know when they’re looking at paid advertising.”

Lord & Taylor got into trouble in March, 2015 over the social media campaign for its Design Lab collection. According to the FTC, the company gave 50 fashion influencers a free Paisley Asymmetrical Dress and paid them up to $4,000 each to post a photograph of themselves wearing the dress on their Instagram feeds. The company pre-approved the posts, and required the influencers who participated to include “@lordandtaylor” and “#DesignLab” in the posts.

“Lord & Taylor did not require the influencers to disclose that the company had compensated them to post the photo, and none of the posts included such a disclosure,” the FTC said in a statement. The posts reached 11.4 million Instagram users, leading to 328,000 brand engagements, according to the FTC, which notes, “The dress quickly sold out.”

Lord & Taylor’s violations occurred before the FTC explained last year in a policy statement how laws against deceptive marketing apply to so-called “native advertising,” or advertising that appears to be editorial content published by third parties. The policy statement addressed social media campaigns, and guidelines for advertisers to follow for disclosing paid endorsements that appear on social media.

Related:
What New Federal Trade Commission Guides Mean for Instagram Influencers

February 9th, 2016

Why Color Calibrate? Outdoor Photographer David Cardinal Weighs In

Sponsored by Datacolor

© David Cardinal

© David Cardinal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an award-winning travel and nature photographer, David Cardinal knows a thing or two about color. Some days, he’s up at sunrise on the African savanna to capture a pack of lions hunting. Other days, he’s wandering the Bogyoke Market in Yangon, Myanmar, photographing intricate fabrics and vibrant spices. Making sure that the colors in his final printed images will precisely match the colors he is seeing on his screen is important to Cardinal, and his display-calibration system of choice is the Datacolor Spyder5.

Cardinal says the Spyder5 is cost-effective and both easy to use and to travel with. He explains: “[This latest version] includes a counterweight that doubles as a snap-on cap, making it easy for me pack anywhere.” In just five minutes, the Spyder5, which is the latest in Datacolor’s world-class display-calibration tools, easily calibrates laptops and desktop monitors for accurate color, gamma, white point and grey balance so that images stay consistent from editing to printing.

Monitor calibration, according to Cardinal, is one of the most important parts of your workflow. “It’s crucial,” he says. “I don’t see how you can properly work on your images without calibrating.” To help you properly and precisely work on your images, Spyder’s patented, 7-detector optical engine has been redesigned to deliver up to a 55-percent improvement in low luminance accuracy, providing more accurate shadow detail and smoother gradients. In addition to this, the Spyder5PRO and Spyder5ELITE contain a room light sensor, which measures the room’s lighting conditions and alerts you if there’s been a change among the ambient light levels (Spyder5PRO: three room light levels / Spyder5ELITE: five room light levels) —this allows you to either modify your calibration settings or adjust your room lighting, further enabling optimal color accuracy in your images.

 

© David Cardinal

© David Cardinal

 

Cardinal cannot stress the importance of color accuracy enough. On the photo tours and safaris he leads, he says there are always photographers who don’t understand the importance of calibration and are disappointed when they compare their final images with his: The colors in Cardinal’s images look vibrant and true-to-life, while the colors in theirs look flat or inaccurate.

Cardinal shows participants a “Before and After” evaluation of their own images using the Spyder5, and he says it encourages them to begin calibrating their own display. “It [makes] a huge difference.”

The problem, according to Cardinal, is that most monitors are inherently calibrated to make software like Microsoft PowerPoint look great, but are not specifically tailored to work as well for photography. With its Display Analysis feature, the Spyder5PRO and Spyder5ELITE allow you to compare color, brightness, contrast, gamut, tone response and white point across all of your various monitors. This is key, because if you are unaware of differences in characteristics of your displays, you could unknowingly make adjustments on your photos that will ultimately look bad when you print.

 

Spyder5ELITE's Display Analysis.

Spyder5ELITE’s Display Analysis feature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best part about the Spyder5, Cardinal maintains, is how easy it is to use. Whereas other colorimeters require technical know-how and a lot of time, the Spyder5 is designed to make the entire process painless. The default settings are so good, according to Cardinal, that he rarely needs to customize. “[When calibrating,] people used to have to answer a bunch of complicated questions they didn’t understand. Datacolor has put so much work into the software that it takes care of everything,” Cardinal says. “In the time it takes me to grab a coffee, it calibrates everything perfectly.” And, when you’re trying to make it out of the hotel room in time to catch the sunrise over a remote Buddhist temple, every second counts.

 

Datacolor Spyder5 is available in three versions (EXPRESS, PRO, ELITE) ranging from $129 – $279.

Learn More: http://spyder.datacolor.com/display-calibration/?afftid=70116000000sbfi

November 4th, 2015

In Memoriam: Photographer Burgess Blevins, 73

Burgess S. Blevins ©Kathy Wildberger

Burgess S. Blevins ©Kathy Wildberger

Photographer Burgess S. Blevins, whose career as a commercial photographer spanned nearly four decades, died suddenly on September 27th while hunting on the Maryland farm where he was raised. He was 73 years old.

Blevins began his career in the late 1960s, and continued shooting assignments until a decade ago. His clients over the years included Anheuser-Busch, Army National Guard, Britten-Norman Aircraft, IBM, Dell, John Deere, Lockheed Martin, Remington, Northrop Grumman, and Visa.

“Burgess was a master of location production and the manipulation of natural light,” his friend and former rep Robert Mead wrote. “Having grown up on a farm, he had an innate sense of his surroundings. He was a ‘wizard of weather,’ and proved it many times. Whether it was pouring rain, or snowing, he was able to locate the one square mile within 50, where it was bright and sunny. And yes, he could make it rain, put ice on grass or on a man’s beard in 90º weather.”

Born January 30, 1942, Blevins graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art and set up his photography business in Baltimore. He was also a renowned bow hunter. “When on a shoot he wanted to be with his bow, and while on a hunt he wanted to be riding on a ridge looking for the perfect shot,” Mead said.

He is survived by his partner, Kathy Wildberger, as well as by three children, three grandchildren, and three siblings.

–Jay Watson

September 11th, 2015

Marcus Smith on Navigating the Photography Business as an African-American

Marcus Smith. ©Paul Elledge

Marcus Smith. ©Paul Elledge

Women have “made huge headway” toward equality with white men in the photo industry, photojournalist Maggie Steber says in an interview in the September issue of PDN. “Now we have to make sure minorities are making more headway.” For minorities, she explained, there’s still “a lot of benign racism.” Marcus Smith, a successful advertising photographer, told us during an interview in 2013 that he worried about race at the the start of his career. In this excerpt from that interview, he describes what he experienced, and offers advice about confronting racism–benign or otherwise–to young African-Americans aspiring to launch careers in photography.

PDN: Are there particular challenges to being an African-American commercial photographer, because of race?
Marcus Smith: Going into it, I thought there would be. I would talk to my mom about it and say, “I don’t know if this is going to work the way I think it is because so much of this industry is about networking and personal relationships. And I wonder if I’m going to be able to relate to people.” I’m a lot younger than a lot of people in the industry, and also, my background and where I come from is a lot different, too. I thought about whether I would have a level playing field. But the less I thought about it, the less of a problem it was–when I was, “OK, whatever. It is what it is. I’m going to be who I am and find the people who accept that.” And those are the people I’m looking to work with.

I had an agent tell me that I needed to have more white people in my portfolio, and I thought that was the craziest thing ever. There’s a lot of Caucasian photographers who shoot lifestyle, fashion, whatever–and they have a book full of white people. And nobody’s telling them, “Hey you need to shoot more black people or you need to shoot more Asian people or Hispanic people or whatever.”

So I was like, OK, I’m not going to listen to you [the agent] because that doesn’t make sense to me. People should be able to see what they want and see what you’re capable of, regardless of whatever race [the subjects are] in front of the lens. So I was going to keep doing what I do, and photograph what interests me, and I’m going to show people. I wanted to take what’s “lifestyle” to me and “culture” to me, and present that to people, and hopefully they see my passion for that and respond to it. And they did. It doesn’t matter to me what color my subject is.

PDN: What advice would you give to other aspiring African-American photographers who might feel daunted being in a minority in the photo industry?
MS: My advice would be to be yourself. People are a lot more alike than you think they are. And people like a lot more of the same things than you think they do. Just because you may have grown up in the inner city, or whatever, and somebody else may have grown up in the suburbs, doesn’t mean that you can’t find a common ground to stand on. It doesn’t mean you don’t possibly listen to the same music, or that you don’t both hate the San Antonio Spurs, or something like that. You never know what kind of random common thread you might find. And you could become the best of friends on the basis of that commonality. And then you have someone you could be different with. I think that’s what makes all of us so interesting: you come from this background, I come from that background. You could have these interesting dialogues [because of that].

PDN: What advice would you give those photographers who may fear overt racism in the industry?
MS: You shouldn’t have fear of that, because you would never know where it comes from. When you can’t pinpoint it, it can paralyze you if you let it become a part of your thinking. You have to have faith that people are not going to do that to you, and if they are, then those are not the kind of people you want to work with anyway. I can be a testament that most people in the industry are not like that. I’m not saying everybody [in the industry] is past [racism], but I can say a big majority of people I’ve come into contact with haven’t responded that way.

Related:
Photographer Maggie Steber on Women, Minorities, and How to Nurture Talent
PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Attract the Clients You Want
PDN’s 30 2014: Marcus Smith

July 22nd, 2015

PDN Video Pick: Casey Brooks and Acre Creative for Aéropostale

In a new 30-second spot for Aéropostale set to appear on a video billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square, Casey Brooks directs a squad of midriff-baring female dancers to illustrate the extreme elasticity of the brand’s new jeans. Creative director Brad Shaffer at the agency Acre Creative brought in Brooks to make the spot for Aéro, giving her a brief to capture an “appropriately sexy” vibe, evidenced by sweeping steadicam closeups of the stretchy jeans hugging the dancers’ curves.

“It’s not provocative, more positive,” Brooks says. She credits choreographer Mishay Petronelli with bringing an abundance of energy to the screen, choreographing seven different 30- to 45-second routines to seven different songs for Brooks to choose from when assembling the final cut with editor Manuel Barenboim. “It’s better for editing,” Brooks says of the music selection. “It gives you different energies to pull from.” The final spot features the Angel Haze track “New York.”

The dancers rehearsed for three days for the two-day location shoot in New York City. One took place on a rooftop in Brooklyn, and another in a warehouse in the Bronx. Petronelli, who has served as Beyonce’s stand-in on a recent world tour and will tour with Janet Jackson later this year, also appears in the video (you can catch her freestyling in front of a giant window). Brendan Stumpf was director of photography, and Ruy Sánchez Blanco the post producer.

The spot will run online as well as on a video billboard.

June 23rd, 2015

Court Rejects Rentmeester’s Infringement Claim Over Nike “Jumpman” Logo

© Jacobus "Co" Rentmeester

Rentmeester’s 1984 photograph of Michael Jordan for Life magazine. © Jacobus “Co” Rentmeester

A federal court in Portland, Oregon has dismissed photographer Jacobus “Co” Rentmeester’s copyright infringement claim against Nike for the same reason so many “copycat” infringement claims fail: Copyright law doesn’t protect ideas, only the expression of those ideas. And Nike’s expression was not “substantially similar” to Rentmeester’s, the court ruled.

“Mr. Rentmeester has failed to show that he can satisfy the requisite objective test for copyright infringement,” US District Judge Michael W. Mosman wrote in his decision last week to dismiss the case. Rentmeester has filed papers announcing his intent to appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (more…)

April 3rd, 2015

Photographer Openly Ridicules Band’s Request For Free Images

Portrait photographer Pat Pope, who has worked with many top musicians during his 20-year career, has published a snarky open letter to alternative rock band Garbage criticizing their attempt to gain free use of his images for their book.

Among Pope’s pointed questions: “Do you think ‘content providers,’ whatever the hell that means, deserve to be paid for their work, or is that a special category for musicians?”

Garbage was formed in 1993 and has sold more than 17 million records worldwide. (more…)

March 18th, 2015

Nike Seeks Dismissal of Photog Rentmeester’s Copyright Claim over “Air Jordan” Logo

© Jacobus "Co" Rentmeester

Co Rentmeester sued Nike in January for unauthorized use of this 1984 image to create the “Jumpman” logo used for decades to promote Nike’s Jordan brand.  © Jacobus “Co” Rentmeester

The Nike shoe company has asked a federal court to dismiss photographer Co Rentmeester’s copyright claim over the iconic logo used on Jordan brand sneakers and clothing, on the grounds that the Nike logo is substantially different from Rentmeester’s photo of former basketball star Michael Jordan.

Rentmeester says the company illegally created its so-called “Jumpman” logo from a photograph Rentmeester shot in 1984. Nike, which has used the logo for more than 25 years, called Rentmeester’s claim “baseless.” The company is accusing Rentmeester of trying to claim a monopoly on images of Jordan’s trademark slam-dunk move. And Nike argues that its iconic logo copied none of the “protectable” elements of the Rentmeester photograph–ie, camera angle, lighting, background and other elements of expression that are protected by US Copyright law.

The alleged "Nike copy" of Rentmeester's 1984 image.

The alleged “Nike copy” of Rentmeester’s 1984 image.

Rentmeester filed his copyright infringement claim in January in US district court in Portland, Oregon. He alleged that Nike had based its “Jumpman” logo on an image made by the company that illegally copied Rentmeester’s 1984 photo. Rentmeester had made his image for Life magazine. His image, the Nike “copy” image and the Nike logo all depict Jordan in a move for which he was famous: sailing through the air on his way to slam dunking a basketball.

Nike had temporarily licensed the Rentmeester image in 1984. Rentmeester alleges that Nike copied the image while it was in the company’s possession. He also says Nike paid him $15,000 in 1985, after he complained Nike was infringing his photograph by plastering the “Jumpman” logo all over billboards and posters promoting Air Jordan sneakers. The payment allowed for use of the image for two years in North American markets only, according to Rentmeester’s claim, but Nike has continued to use it ever since. (more…)

December 23rd, 2014

PDNPulse: Top Stories of 2014

As another fascinating year in the world of professional photography comes to a close, we look back on the stories that drew the most interest from PDNPulse readers this year.

From manipulated news photos, to photographers arrested for doing their jobs, to collaborative efforts between photographers and an interview with one of photography’s most influential star makers, these stories capture some of the highs and lows of the photography business today.

1: George Steinmetz Wonders: Was It Worth Getting Arrested for National Geographic Cover Story Photos

2: 2014 Winter Olympics Op-Ed: Everything You’ve Read About Problems for Photographers in Sochi is True

3: PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

4: Photographers Share Intimate Images of Loved Ones for Curated Photo Website

5: AP Severs Ties With Photographer Narciso Contreras Over Photoshopped Image
5a: Photographer Fired by AP Says Decision Was Fair, But Process Wasn’t

6: How Much Do Editorial Clients Pay? “Wiki” Gives Names and Fees

7: If that Kim Kardashian Photo Looks Familiar…

8: Calumet Photographic to Liquidate, Closes U.S. Stores

9: Photographer Creates Free iPhone App for His Signature Style

10: Wal-mart Sues Photographer’s Widow Claiming Copyright for Decades of Portraits of Walton Family

11: Suffolk County Pays $200K to Settle News Photographer’s Unlawful Arrest Claim

12: How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?

13: AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus Killed in Afghanistan

14: Cowboy Lifestyle Photographer David Stoecklein Dies, 65

15: Photojournalist Camille Lapage, 26, “Murdered” in Central African Republic

October 27th, 2014

PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Develop Your Brand Identity

Marcus Smith, Part 2: How to Develop Your Brand Identity from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

In a previous PDN Video, advertising photographer Marcus Smith explained how he used personal work to land his dream clients. After winning his first few commercial assignments, though, Smith decided he needed a stronger brand identity to maintain momentum. In this video, he explains how he figured out the right brand message for his business, communicated it to a designer, and got a professional-looking brand identity on a tight budget.

Smith will speak at Photo Plus Expo on a panel called “PDN’s 30: Strategies for Young Working Photographers” on Saturday, November 1 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Others speaking on the panel include Dina Litovsky, Greer Muldowney, Keren Sachs, and Tony Gale. For complete details about Photo Plus Expo seminars and events, see the Photo Plus Expo website.

Related:
PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Attract the Clients You Want