• Thu, 05 Aug 2021 17:22:55 +0000

    Photographer Wins Copyright Lawsuit Centered on Instagram Embeds

    Renowned nature photographer and Sony Artisan Paul Nicklen has won a copyright lawsuit against the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which embedded a video from Nicklen’s Instagram on its website and featured a screenshot from it without seeking permission.

    As noted by JD Supra, Niklen shot a short video of a starving polar bear and posted it to Facebook and Instagram in 2017. PetaPixel published the clip with permission from National Geographic, but neither Nicklen nor National Geographic provided permission to the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which embedded the Instagram post to its own sites and teased the article with a screenshot taken from the video. Sinclair asked the court to dismiss Nicklen’s complaint and argued that embedding a video is not copyright infringement and therefore the publication of the video was fair use.

    Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York disagreed, as Sinclair did not simply embed the Instagram post, but also used a screenshot from the video to promote the article.

    Rakoff says that copyright is defined by the “display” of work as showing “a copy of it, either directly or by means of a film, slide, television image, or any other device or processor, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to show individual images nonsequentially.” Combined with the plain meaning of the word “show,” the “defendant violates an author’s exclusive right to display an audiovisual work publicly” if a defendant “causes a copy of the work, or individual images of the work, to be seen — whether directly or by means of any device or process known in 1976 or developed thereafter.” Rakoff further added that “the exclusive display right set forth in the Copyright Act is technology-neutral” and is “concerned not with how a work is shown, but that a work is shown.”

    Sinclair argued that because the content was stored on another server, embedding that content was not the same as outright displaying it. Rankoff disagreed. He also found that because Sinclair used a still image of the video regardless of whether the user clicks to play the video or not further added to the case of copyright infringement.

    The “server rule” protects many organizations from copyright infringement, as explained by Columbia Law:

    The “server rule” holds that online displays or performances of copyrighted content accomplished through “in-line” or “framing” hyperlinks do not trigger the exclusive rights of public display or performance unless the linker also possesses a copy of the underlying work. As a result, the rule shields a vast array of online activities from claims of direct copyright infringement, effectively exempting those activities from the reach of the Copyright Act. While the server rule has enjoyed relatively consistent adherence since its adoption in 2007, some courts have recently suggested a departure from that precedent, noting the doctrinal and statutory inconsistencies underlying it.

    Rankoff rejected a Sinclair argument that said such a ruling “would impose far-reaching and ruinous liability” and would grind “the internet to a halt,” since the crux of the issue wasn’t necessarily just the embed of the video, but the use of a screenshot that did not require the video to be explicitly played or the embed to be viewed. Basically, the embed was argued to be not be required viewing in order to see Nicklen’s content.

    The rulings surrounding the embedding of content from social media have resulted in somewhat unclear rules of engagement for media publications. On the one hand, Instagram and its parent company Facebook are being sued for allowing content posted to the sites to be embedded at all. Instagram recently adjusted its policies and states that media needs to still seek permission from artists in order to embed content from the site.

    On the other hand, judgments like the one in Nicklen v. Sinclair Broadcasting Group mainly hinge on screenshots of embeds and not the embedded material itself.

    One solution that Facebook seems reluctant to employ has been used by both YouTube and Vimeo for some time: embed restrictions. It is possible to now allow content uploaded to either video service to be played natively through embeds, and since this is a toggleable option, it allows content creators to decide if they want their work shared via embed. Because Facebook doesn’t make this an option, it could be argued that the company is complicit in allowing copyright infringement. That may be the core of the class action lawsuit aimed against Facebook, which states that the company “induced online publishers” to embed links to Instagram in order to drive traffic — and by association advertising revenue — to the site.

    Image credits: Elements of header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

  • Thu, 05 Aug 2021 17:09:07 +0000

    This Photographer Uses Paper Cutouts to Create Clever Scenes

    Photographer Rich McCor (AKA paperboyo) has amassed over half a million followers on Instagram by transforming real-world locations into imaginative scenes through holding up carefully-created paper cutouts.

    All the paper cutouts seen in McCor’s photos are physical pieces of paper, and all of the photos were shot on location.

    “There is some post-production to help with depth of field issues and to align the cut-outs with the background, but the whole concept began with me literally just holding a cut-out in front of the camera to create these illusions,” McCor tells PetaPixel. “And then the further I went, the more tricks and edits I picked up on to help the process, but I still keep it fairly analog.”

    McCor creates his illustrations digitally before transferring them to black paper.

    “I design them on my surface book and then I either cut them by hand or, more so lately, I cut them with a laser printer,” McCor says.

    The illustrations and paper cutouts are brilliant, but the idea phase of this project is actually more taxing than the execution part.

    “The most time and effort though goes into the concepts/ideas and finding locations that can work with them or vice versa,” the photographer says, “[as well as] finding buildings/landmarks that can spark an idea.”

    Once McCor has a location, idea, and paper cutout, he’s finally ready to shoot the actual photo.

    “No tripod for most of my images,” McCor says. “It’s a case of camera in one hand and the cut-out in the other. I try and keep my kitbag light so I just use my Sony a7C, a wide and a zoom lens, and that’s pretty much it.”

    Some of his photos are single exposures, while others are stacked photos for depth-of-field reasons.

    “In terms of settings, [I use] a high aperture if I’m doing a shot with minimal post-production and just want to get it all in-camera,” McCor says, “but if I’m shooting a scene where the building is fairly far away and causes depth-of-field issues then I’ll do a shot of the background in focus (a plate shot) and then a shot of the cut-out in focus and I’ll merge them in Photoshop.”

    We previously featured McCor’s project back in 2017. McCor continues to travel the world to add more photos to this project, and he tells Colossal that he’s planning to visit The Netherlands, New York, and Taipei next.

    You can find more of McCor’s work on his Instagram and Facebook. You can also buy prints through his online store.

    Image credits: Photographs by Rich McCor and used with permission

  • Thu, 05 Aug 2021 16:24:16 +0000

    Meyer Optik Görlitz Says it is ‘a Real Company Again’

    Meyer Optik Görlitz — formerly disgraced, purchased, and reborn — has announced that it is no longer a brand-name only and is now operating as an independent organization. In the Meyer Optik’s own words, it is “a real company again.”

    Meyer Optik Görlitz has had a long and, recently, rocky history. The brand was founded in 1896 by optician Hugo Myer and businessman Heinrich Schätze and successfully made wide-angle camera lenses. In 1920, the company began working with former Zeiss developer Paul Rudolph, who was significant in the development of the Prota, Planar, and Tessar lenses. Rudolph helped Meyer Optik obtain a patent for what the company called Plasmat lenses, and by 1936 was producing 100,000 lenses a year.

    In 1990, after spinning off of a relationship with VEB Carl Zeiss, the company was unable to attract investors and liquidated. But in 2014, net SE along with brand manager Globell B.V. bought the name and exhibited new lenses at the Photokina trade show. In 2015, the company launched a Kickstarter for a new Trioplan 50mm f/2.9.

    That Kickstarter was wildly successful and raised $683,801. Despite this, all was not well at the company. Geoff Livingston, a market and founder of Livingston Campaigns, joined Meyer Optik as a contractor to help with that campaign. He was also tapped to launch the Trioplan 100 Kickstarter, but departed the company after he saw some warning signs that bothered him.

    In an interview with PetaPixel, he revealed that the company was working to launch the Trioplan 100 before successfully delivering on the Trioplan 50.

    “We literally were dealing with complaints about not receiving the 100 while pushing the 50. Not ideal from a PR perspective, but we were told that the company had to launch the Kickstarter. I think the campaign suffered a bit from that,” Livingston told PetaPixel.

    Livingston’s gut was right, and the Meyer Optik Görlitz brand owner net SE was revealed to be in serious trouble in August of 2018. The company delisted its shares from the over-the-counter market in Germany and filed for bankruptcy.

    Anyone who backed the original successful Kickstarter but did not receive a product simply lost their money.

    Today, the collapse of the company is described as what “looks very much like an illegal ponzi pyramid scam” on Wikipedia. What was once a storied, respected lens brand was seriously tarnished by net SE’s business decisions. While many photographers believed that Meyer Optik Görlitz was a larger company with many employees and vast production capabilities, in reality, it was a tiny operation with only a handful of people and was only one of several vintage lens brands under the net SE umbrella.

    In 2019, it was confirmed that the net SE was selling cheaper Chinese lenses that were simply rebranded with the Meyer Optik Görlitz name, which further tarnished the brand.

    After the collapse of net SE, Meyer Optik Görlitz was purchased by OPC Optics, who acquired the rights to the brand in 2018 and announced plans to bring its products back to market. OPC Optics intended to reboot the brand at Photokina 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic eventually led to the cancelation of that show. Photokina would later shut down indefinitely.

    Representatives for the company say that it has since completely rebuilt the entire structure of the brand, including the portfolio of products. The result is that the company is known as Meyer Optik Görlitz GmbH and is based in Bad Kreuznach. Meyer Optik Görlitz GmbH will operate independently, alongside its sister companies OPC Optics GmbH and PPO Pfeiffer Präzisionsoptik GmbH and under the umbrella of a common parent company. The transition to organizational and administrative independence is to be completed by the end of the year.

    “After almost 3 years of hard and intensive work, we are very happy to have laid the foundation for an independent Meyer Optik Görlitz GmbH and to be able to put it on its own feet” Timo Heinze, Managing Director of the new Meyer Optik Görlitz GmbH now says. “After we, under the umbrella of OPC Optics, developed the brand’s portfolio and established sales structures, the time has now come for Meyer Optik Görlitz to step out of the shadows as a ‘real’ company and operate independently on the market.”

    The company says that it plans to launch a Trioplan 35 II, Biotar 58 II, and Biotar 75 II by the fourth quarter of 202. It will also expand the portfolio of lenses with classic models. Additionally, the company says new products are already in the works, so more new launches can be expected next year.

  • Thu, 05 Aug 2021 15:55:54 +0000

    A Glossary of Lighting Terms Used in Photography

    When starting out in photography, you are bombarded with terms, definitions, and a whole new universe of things you must know as a photographer. Sometimes the definitions are confusing at best, seemingly conflicting at worst. When it comes to lighting, there’s a big list of terms and jargon that you need to know. Here are some of the common ones with simple definitions and explanations.


    Light that is present in a scene, often originating from the Sun or an artificial light source such as a bulb. Ambient light is controlled using shutter speed and aperture. When mixing ambient with flash, photographers resort to controlling ambient with shutter speed as it allows to keep the preselected depth of field. More often than not photographers shoot wide open in ambient light situations, so the shutter speed is the only option(assuming ISO is already high).


    The light that is generated by an electric flash tube or an unnatural source. Usually comes from a flash and is often what you can control. Although light bulbs in an event venue are artificial light, most photographers regard them as ambient if there is no control over them.


    A light that comes from behind a subject. A backlight increases background separation as it highlights the edges of your subject. An effective backlight is often hard but not too bright.

    Broad Light

    A portrait lighting pattern where the whole face is lit evenly. The light direction is hitting the cheekbone.


    The reflection you see in the eyes of the model. A square light source will produce a square catchlight, a round one-round.


    When highlights, commonly skin parts, are overexposed to the point of no return. Can be fixed by dialing the power down or talking to the makeup artist about it.


    Area of the nose with the nostrils. It is generally good to keep it darker than the nose bridge.

    Continuous Lighting

    Light source that has constant output over time e.g. a tungsten 3200W light. Commonly used in video. Strobes feature a high but not constant output of light.


    The difference between highlights and shadows in an image.


    Colour temperature blue gel: used to cool the light down.


    Colour temperature orange gel: used to warm it up.


    Light that hits the subject from a wide family of angles.


    The measure of how fast light loses power over distance. Follows the inverse square law for small light sources.


    Commonly a large diffused light source used to bring out shadow detail and reduce contrast.


    A studio accessory used to cut light or introduce negative fill.


    A piece of semi-transparent plastic that will color the light. Don’t use gels with modeling lamps as they melt.


    (1) An optical attachment used to create precise light patterns, or (2) a flag (or diffusion fabric) with holes that is used to cast uneven natural-looking shadows.


    The transition between highlight and shadow. A smooth gradient suggests diffused light, a hard gradient suggests hard light.

    Guide Number

    A quantity describing what f-stop or distance to use if one of the two is known. Guide number is f/stop multiplied by distance. Most on-camera flash manufacturers give these in manuals.

    Hard Light

    Light with sharp shadow edges and little to no gradient. It is defined only by shadow edges, not contrast or scene.


    A scene that is largely bright or white. Commonly used in headshot photos and can be done with minimal gear.



    Part of the surface that is significantly brighter than the rest. Commonly used with softboxes that have a hotspot in the center.


    A light source that is producing relatively warm light by burning a filament. These light sources are often inefficient and currently are rarely used in professional applications.

    Inverse Square Law

    Relationship between light brightness and distance. Light intensity/brightness will decrease in inverse proportion to the square of the distance.

    Key Light

    The brightest light on the subject.


    A light used to highlight the contour of the subject and separate it from the background- commonly placed behind it.

    Lighting Ratio

    The exposure ratio between shadow and highlight. A high lighting ratio means a lot of contrast while a low one means no contrast.


    Photo that is largely dark/shadow. Unlike high-key, the key light will be very prominent here while everything else will fall into shadow. Much harder to do compared to high-key as it requires more nuanced light shaping.



    The area between shadow and highlight. A large penumbra means smooth gradient, a small one means hard light and no gradient.

    Quality of Light

    Described in terms of 4 things: hard, soft, diffused, specular. Some regard high quality of light to be something soft, but this puts hard light in jeopardy hence I advise against this version of the definition.

    Ring flash

    A special flash that mounts around the lens and creates even light that doesn’t cast visible shadows.


    A shadow that appears because of the change in the shape of the object (e.g a dark edge of a cube)

    Shadow edges

    Fancy light nerds will call this penumbra. See above.

    Short light

    A portrait lighting technique where the front of the face is bright while the cheeks remain dark. The light direction is hitting the face.

    Soft Shadow

    A shadow that has long graduated transitions from highlight to shadow. The term ‘shadow edges’ doesn’t practically apply as they are extremely large and hard to pinpoint.


    The angle at which the light spreads over the area. A spill kill or a grid will reduce the light spread (spill) to a smaller angle (e.g. 5 deg)

    Thrown Shadow

    A shadow that is cast by an object to a different surface, e.g a shadow on the table from a cup.

    Closing Thoughts

    These are just some starting points in learning light. Naturally, there are a lot more niche terms. Yet, just knowing the definitions won’t enable you to master light. Practicing with these ideas in mind will. For example, a possible task could be to create a short and then broad lighting pattern. Another test could be to create a hard, diffused light. Sounds odd? Check the light quality definition again.

    Credits: Header photo: @ginte.studio, Makeup: @karinajemelyjanova, Styling: @nagyemesestylist, Model: @mirinkoli, Agency: @annelise_arieli @facemodelmanagementhungary, Retouch: @justlike_magic.

  • Thu, 05 Aug 2021 15:27:35 +0000

    How To Photograph Beer and Successfully Retouch in Photoshop

    In this 18-minute video, photographer Dustin Dolby explains many of the tricks beverage photographers use and shows how anyone can achieve professional-level beer photos with just a few speedlights and some entry-level camera gear.

    Dolby says that every little detail matters when it comes to creating the perfect shot for advertising beverages.While beer photography tutorials come in all shapes and sizes, he says the big secret is most of the concepts come down to simply shaping light and using a little bit of Photoshop to fix the various imperfections that just happen throughout the course of the shoot. In the video above, Dolby walks through every step (including the mistakes) of his usual workflow for creating incredible beer and beverage photos.

    Starting with just his beer bottle and a single strip box, the first, and most important step is to ensure the bottle is aligned properly for the shot. From there Dolby says that photographers need to start modifying the lighting to ensure a broad and — what he describes as — “milky” look with a nice highlight on the side.

    Dobly adds an additional strip box (his second light source) for his backlight and will cycle through multiple power levels to find the brightness that is just right for the planned image. Next, to ensure the labels are exposed properly, Dobly recommends using a third light bounced off the ceiling for a subtle fill.

    Once all of this is done, he recommends then adding some flags (he uses black foam-core) to control any light spill and avoid any unwanted flares in the final shot. At this point, he can finally add the beer.

    The trick here is to pour just half the glass first to let things settle and ensure the image is still framed properly. Dolby says that this extra step that allows him to finish pouring the second half directly into the upright glass will cause a “big reaction” that will hopefully lead to a big frothy end result. Dolby explains that photographers can miss the shot either due to the drink not pouring right or a technical issue with the camera or lights can occur. If this happens, the shot needs to be reset to a certain extent. He recommends having some spare beers to repour as needed, or even using a bamboo stick to agitate the drink will react with the bear and create an additional “frothing” to help get the shot correctly.

    The second half of the video explains how to retouch the image for a fantastic final result. The first step is to eliminate any distractions or mismatched elements in the shots like excessive bubbles or condensation on the glass and table. He then details how to extend and clean up the background so that there is a perfectly clean slate and removes any splashes or spills on that may be visible on the table.

    Over the course of the rest of the video, Dolby shows his entire process including fixing the labels, adding some color corrections, highlight fixes, and even compositing small elements to create a perfect shot — this even includes creating a label for the glass itself leaving him with a great sharp commercial-looking image worthy of a poster or billboard.

    For more from Dustin Dolby, subscribe to his YouTube Channel.

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