Instagram will start selling YOUR images next week

While the ease of sharing photos over social media can be wonderful, there are some companies out to make money off of their customers in an unfair way .  Their strategy has become all too common these days: gain popularity under one set of terms of service, then stealthily change the conditions to take away rights of the users.

Such is the case with the newest culprit: Instagram.  An article in Photography Monthly warns readers that starting on January 16, 2013 Instagram will be able to freely sell and distribute its users images – without any notification nor its users earning so much as a penny from the sales.  Imagine seeing your photography in advertisements, perhaps even in multimillion dollar national campaigns, without receiving any credit or royalties.  This is taking money that rightfully belongs to the photographer, and using it to line Instagram’s greedy pockets.  Or imagine seeing your images used as part of a campaign or cause that you oppose.   Instagram is denying you the right to determine where and how your own images are used.

If this idea scares you, you only have a few days left in which to delete your account, or risk loosing control of your images forever.

Deleting photos just one day later will not prevent Instagram from continuously using any images you formerly had in your account.  Once again, we will see an example of a social media site that doesn’t really delete your information from its servers when you close your account, but will continue to retain and use that information without your permission.

What will you do?  Will you delete your account, or keep using Instagram?  Why?

Holiday Picture Imperfect: Why a Real Camera is Better for Capturing Memories

‘Tis the season for many a Kodak moment, as joyous times are spent with family and friends.  Particularly for people who have to travel hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to see their loved ones for the holidays, this often poses a rare opportunity for group photographs.  Traditionally this has involved film cameras, and later digital cameras, but recently more and more people have foregone the use of real cameras, instead relying merely on photos taken on their phones.  But what are they missing out on?

Photo quality.

Cell phones do not have the same quality of light sensors as cameras, which results in images with less clarity and more grain.  While some people consider the quality to be a trade-off for the ease of phone portability and social media sharing, the photos they produce will not stand the test of time.  Here is a well-illustrated article that compares photos taken by a smart phone and a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera side by side.  It is easy to spot the detail that is lost by the camera-phone, and the difference becomes even more pronounced when displayed in high resolution.  Even phone photos that might seem “good enough” now in 2012 might seem lackluster come time to show the grandkids what life was like “back in the day.”  Just as current generations look back on old family photos and wish they had the clarity of today, future generations may look back on family photos of the 2010s and wonder why they were grainier than photos from the 2000s, just a few years before.

This holiday season I’m capturing the magic with my DSLR camera.  What will you use?