April 15th, 2016

Instagram Dives Deeper Into Video


Another day, another feature update at Instagram.

Today it’s video. Specifically, Instagram is updating the Explore tab in its app to promote videos. After you update the app, you’ll find a personalized “Videos You Might Like” channel that curates videos from across Instagram into a single location.

The Explore tab will also now have “Featured” channels with content grouped by specific topics. When you click on a video channel it will autoplay all the videos without looping, so you can binge watch one after the other without ever having to tire out your finger with excessive swiping.

Instagram’s Explore tab works a bit like Pandora, the Internet radio station. You “train” Explore by expressing preferences for the content being displayed and it’s a chance to be exposed to Instagram content even if you don’t follow the creator.

Don’t Miss:

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This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram

The Colors Prized By Instagram’s Top Photographers

March 29th, 2016

Instagram Videos Will Soon Be Longer


With a vocal segment of its user base still smarting over changes to its feed, Instagram announced a new feature update that should be a bit more welcome: longer videos.

Coming “soon” Instagram will support videos up to 60 seconds in length. For iOS users, Instagram is also restoring the ability to make videos out of multiple clips from your camera roll. (Here’s how.)

The iOS update with multi-clip functionality is available now. Longer videos are available for some accounts today and will be gradually rolled out to every user in the coming months.

Read More:

How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Instagram?

Using This Instagram App? Delete It

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram

The Colors Prized By Instagram’s Top Photographers

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.

What New Federal Trade Commission Guides Mean for Instagram Influencers

March 17th, 2016

Why Instagram Is Changing (Spoiler Alert: Money)

Photographers have reacted harshly to Instagram’s decision to uproot chronological posting in favor of an algorithmically sorted feed.

We don’t yet know how Instagram will look and feel in this new algorithmic era, but it’s pretty clear why Instagram is making the switch. It’s much less about giving you content you want to see (the stated reason) and much more about making Instagram the social network equivalent of a toll keeper. In short, it’s about money.

Take Facebook (please). The mammoth social network used to treat all content equally, serving up posts on a chronological basis without discrimination. If you followed an individual, media outlet or brand and they posted an update, it would populate into your feed, sorted by the time it was published.

Today, Facebook timelines are heavily managedeven manipulated–by the company. By deciding who sees what, when, Facebook can essentially hold status updates hostage, demanding ransom in the form of “boosting” a post for a fee or paying to take an ad. Brands and media outlets (not to mention non-profits) have seen their content hidden from followers, prompting them to either pay up or face declining visibility.

Given its ownership, we should expect Instagram to do the same. If you rely on Instagram to reach followers, especially for commercial purposes, you may need to add a line item to your marketing budget for Instagram advertising.

Of course, social media outlets aren’t obligated to serve as free mouth pieces for commercial enterprises or popular individuals. They need to make money just like the rest of us and while Instagram’s decision, like Facebook’s before it, reeks of a bait-and-switch, that’s life in the social networking age. (Although if you want a more pessimistic, downright worrying view of online manipulation, do read this.) Plus, there’s always Twitter. For now.

So what’s a photographer to do? Eric Kim suggests a return to blogging:

Eventually nobody will use Instagram (another social media app will come around. Or perhaps all Instagram users will flee to Snapchat). But once Snapchat becomes more like Facebook, people will flee to some other new service that doesn’t exist yet.

The only way to have any lasting impact as a photographer is the old school method: make prints, share them with friends, and print your own books (zines, print on demand books, or self publish yourself).

Take a hybrid approach: love both atoms and bytes. Don’t make it all one or another; shoot both film and digital, write emails and hand written letters, walk and drive your car, send your friends text messages but also meet them “in real life”…

The last point I want to make is the most interactive and flexible way to do “social media” is own your own blog….

I’m so grateful that I’ve had this blog for the last few years; it has helped open up so many possibilities, given me a voice, given me control over my content, and has given me a livelihood. I used to be suckered into thinking that Facebook was the future; now I realize it is just another social media app (just how MySpace was). I regret spending so much time on social media in general; I wish I spent more time blogging.

A world with more blogging? Yes please.


March 15th, 2016

Instagram Knows Best: Company Will Change the Way You See Posts

instagram-logoInstagram is making a move to be more like its owner, Facebook.

In a blog post today, the popular social network said it would begin algorithmically sorting posts to surface what it thinks you want to see, irrespective of when that content is posted.

According to Instagram, the “order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.

If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.”

Apparently, missing posts is endemic on the site–users miss about 70 percent of the content of their feed.

The changes won’t be rolled out immediately, but in the “coming months” and Instagram promises to listen to user feedback along the way.

March 2nd, 2016

AppAction Promises to Boost Your Instagram Followers – No Ifs, Ands or Bots

Growing followers on Instagram can be something of a dark art. Photographers in our PhotoPlus Expo panel on the subject, for instance, were more apt to talk about authenticity and earnestness than about the ideal number of hashtags (it’s three) and optimal posting times.

Still, a new service from a former Facebook and Instagram employees dubbed AppAction promises to grow Instagram followers through a fairly straightforward approach: by driving eyeballs from Facebook and Twitter.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 9.31.56 AM

Here’s how it works: you sign up to AppAction via Instagram and link both your Twitter and Facebook account to the service. Then, when you post an image to Instagram, it will automatically be shared to those other platforms. The catch is that the image appearing in Facebook and Twitter also contains a customized “deep link” that, when clicked, drives users back to the original Instagram post. In this way, anyone following you on those other social platforms is exposed to your Instagram work. And, unlike Instagram sharing to Twitter, AppAction shares a full image, not just a link–the better to drive engagement.

Using this method, AppAction claims to have increased Instagram follower counts by 20 percent for its beta testers over a two month period–users that included huge brands like ESPN.

You’re not locked into auto-posting. You can configure AppAction to only cross post an Instagram image on Facebook and Twitter once it hits a certain number of likes. The app also slaps its own hashtag on everything you post with no (readily apparent) way to disable that.

Because it’s creating customized links, AppAction is able to provide a set of basic Instagram analytics to you on a daily basis via email or via a dashboard, including audience engagement (likes and comments), referrers, and more.

It has several pricing plans, depending on the volume of clicks and shares you generate. A free plan provides up to 1,000 post clicks and 100 shares per month.

Read More:

How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Instagram?

Using This Instagram App? Delete It

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram

The Colors Prized By Instagram’s Top Photographers

February 17th, 2016

Instagram Is About to Get Safer


Instagram is poised to roll out two-factor authentication across its network, according to a report in TechCrunch.

Instagram’s security will work a bit like Google’s implementation. You’ll verify a phone number and if someone logs into your account with your email and password, you’ll receive a text with a code that will also need to be entered to gain access to your account. This way, even if someone steals your email and password, they’d still need access to your phone to actually log into your account.

There’s no word yet on precisely when Instagram will release two-factor authentication, but suffice it to say that when they do, you should use it!

Read More:

How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Instagram?

Using This Instagram App? Delete It

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram


February 8th, 2016

Instagram Now Supports Multiple Accounts from a Single Login


Managing multiple Instagram accounts is no longer a major hassle. The service announced today that it would allow users to access up to five different accounts from a single login.

To enable account switching, you’ll need to download the latest version of Instagram’s mobile app (v. 7.15), which is live in both the Android and Apple apps stores.

 To add multiple Instagram accounts:

  1. Go to your profile and tap or in the top right
  2. Scroll down and tap Add Account
  3. Enter the username and password of the account you’d like to add

To switch between accounts you’ve added:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap your username at the top of the screen
  3. Tap the account you’d like to switch to

You will receive push notifications from any account that has the function enabled.

Read More:

How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Instagram?

Using This Instagram App? Delete It

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram

February 5th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography and Filmmaking

Jon Westra | Flickr

Jon Westra | Flickr


“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” ― Logan Pearsall Smith

How Photography Became a Modern ArtChristies

10 Myths About the Rule of ThirdsIPox Studios

How the NY Times Is Using Old Images to Tell Stories It MissedPoynter

Shooting and Editing a Huge Indian Wedding Using Just an iPhone – Rangefinder

The FAA’s Drone Registry Is a Privacy NightmareEngadget

11 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Still Stinks Mashable

Famed War Photographer Don McCullin on Risk, War & GuiltGlobe & Mail

One of the Most Radical, Daring Photo Expositions Ever Feature Shoot

The Putin of Chechnya’s Flair for InstagramNew Yorker

Craft Guild Nominations vs. the OscarsVariety

Want more links? Check out past Weekend Reads here.

January 4th, 2016

Photographer Sues Richard Prince Over Instagram Rip-offs… At Last

"Rastafarian Smoking a Joint" ©Donald Graham

“Rastafarian Smoking a Joint” ©Donald Graham

Photographer Donald Graham has sued appropriation artist Richard Prince and his gallerist Lawrence Gagosian for copyright infringement of a photo that appeared without Graham’s authorization on Instagram, and then in a gallery exhibition of Prince’s appropriation work.

Prince drew public complaints and vitriol last year for unauthorized reproduction, display and sale of a series of 67 x 55-inch inkjet prints of Instagram “screen saves” of images by other artists and photographers. But Graham is the first to sue.

The Los Angeles-based photographer filed suit in federal court in New York on December 30, alleging unauthorized use of a 1996 photograph (shown here) of a Rastafarian man lighting a joint. Graham alleges in his claim that a third party posted his photograph on Instagram without permission, and that Prince copied and enlarged that unauthorized photo and displayed it as part of his 2014 “New Portraits” exhibition.

Graham’s complaint calls Prince out for “his blatant disregard for copyright law” and goes on to say that “Mr. Prince consistently and repeatedly has incorporated others’ works” into his own works, without permission, credit or compensation. (more…)