Stop Stealing Photos: A Polite Request to Brands

Stop Stealing PhotosStop Stealing Photos: A Polite Request to Brands

It seems that I can’t go a month without someone using my photos without my consent. “Wait, what? No that can’t be the case, surely everyone has the moral integrity not to steal content” I hear you say. Well you would be wrong. Both brands and bloggers have used my photos for promotional posts, to populate their social channels, and even on posts that feature sponsored content. Yes you heard me correctly, people have outright taken my images, without my knowledge, for content they are being paid for. Crazy, right?

Stop stealing photos

This week I was reminded of my disdain when a blogger I highly respect, noticed a brand she previously worked with had taken it upon themselves to use every single photo (that featured their product) she had taken since. This in turn reminded me of a friend who was sent a product and kindly featured the product in a few photos on her Instagram page. The brand then used these photos, and then a whole bunch of random photos from her page to populate theirs. I’ve been thinking about both of these cases for a few days now, and it’s kinda bugging me.

Is it really too much to ask brands to stop stealing photos? There’s a fine line here, and it’s smack bang in the middle of a very grey area. So how do we combat it, as bloggers, and as people who occasionally need to feature others content?

What can we do about it?

  • Just ask!
    • Most bloggers would be happy for their work to be featured on your Instagram etc. if you just ask first. Contacting the blogger leaves space for a healthy conversation about crediting and payment.
  • What do you say to the brand?
    • I have a template – yes that’s how bad it’s become – that I copy-paste into a comment/email whenever I spot someone using my photos. I politely ask them to either remove the photo or give the appropriate credit. 9 times out of 10 brands will remove the photo or give me the credit I ask for once I hit them with it.
  • Ask to be paid 
    • This is a tough one as most brands/people will either ignore you, or get annoyed when you bring money into the mix. Of course you will need to tread lightly, but why shouldn’t you request payment? Especially if you’re a freelancer and your content is being used in marketing campaigns.
  • It takes time and hard work to take photos
    • Think before you take a photo. Not only are there copyright laws to consider, but morally it’s just not cool.
  • Where can you go for decent, royalty free photos?
    • Try unsplash – the talented photographers who contribute to this site are happy for their photos to be used on blogs, social etc. Remember to share the love and credit the photographer where possible.

I know this is happening to photographers and content creators of all kinds alike. And I’m certainly not the be all and end all of knowledge on this. This is just my personal take on something that has affected me. I hope we can all work together to promote each others work, and stop this from happening.

Read more of my articles on blogging and social media.
Image source: Mia Domenico

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands – A Guide

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

I’ve been working with brands for over 6 years on my blog and social networks. I’m not a ‘big blogger’ but I’ve been gifted products, experiences and even holidays; all because of my content. Lately I’ve seen certain brands calling bloggers out for contacting them about potential collaborations. Not only is it unprofessional and just downright petty, it’s stupid. Blogger-brand partnerships can be rewarding for both the company and the content creator.

I don’t want to get started on the politics of small or big bloggers being paid, marketing strategies etc. Those are rants for another post. But I do want to give some advice for bloggers who want to work with brands, but maybe feel they can’t reach out to them.

 How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

  • Contact PRs
    • Ask to be put on their mailing lists. This is a great way to get an insight into the brand/industry and how they work. It helps to build a relationship with the PR, and can lead to potential gifting or partnerships.
  • Follow brands on social and interact with them
    • @ them when you include them in your organic content.
    • Be genuine, let them know why you love their brand.
  • Blog/Instagram quality content regularly
    • Brands want to work with creators who are consistent in both timing and quality.
    • Uploading quality content on a regular basis will help grow engagement and following, which is exactly what brands want to see.
  • Show brands what you got!
    • Pitch them your ideas for content (e.g. ‘Valentines gifts for foodies’).
    • Show them stats and link to previous work you’ve done.
    • Tell them why you’d be a good fit for each other.
  • Don’t expect something for nothing
    • Be realistic. If you are brand new to the game it’s unlikely you’re going to be gifted the latest iPhone or be paid big bucks.
    • You need to tell the brand what they will get in return. Let them know how you can both help each other out, and what you will bring to their marketing campaign.

Reaching out isn’t a bad thing!

Pitching has been a part of marketing for a long time. This is no different. Don’t be afraid to contact brands. After all, you don’t lose anything by contacting them and the worst thing that can happen is they say no. I’ve been turned down before, and it just inspired me to work harder and do better (“that’ll show ’em!”). That said, most of the time I get a positive response, and so can you!

I hope this has helped any budding bloggers, or the more seasoned ones who are maybe still unsure about how to reach out to brands. If you enjoyed my ‘How Bloggers Can Work with Brands – A Guide’, let me know if you like to see more posts, such as email templates etc.

Read more of my How-to guides.
Source: 1, 2

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

 

Learning to Love Instagram Again – A Guide

love instagram

For a while now it seemed as though Instagram is imploding in on itself. Longtime and new users alike are tired of the new algorithm, bots, hacked accounts, and much more. We’re given pointless updates that no one asked for – a la Facebook – and to top it all off, Instagram don’t seem to be listening to any of it’s users complaints. Yet through it all, I’ve stayed true to Instagram, although it was pretty tough at times. And finally, I’m learning to love Instagram again.

Learning to Love Instagram Again

I recently took a mini break from Instagram. The best way to describe how I felt is disillusioned. I decided that I was tired of creating promo posts, endless flatlays, and worrying about what my next upload would be. So I went away for a few days, I deleted a bunch of old photos that made me unhappy, and I came back with fresh ideas.

  • Beating the System Or ‘finding a work around the new algorithm’. It’s not easy, but there are certain things you can do to claw your account back to the realms of the living. Posting once a day, and using a selection of new hashtags (repeat hashtag usage results in posts not being seen) in each post should do it.
  • Keep it Unique Easier said than done. But studies have shown that people are bored of overly stylised flatlays taking up their feed. The “big accounts” are all looking the same, and there’s a herd of copycats on their tails. Think about it; why would someone buy a knock-off when they can have the real thing? Creating unique, concise content is one of the best ways to draw in new followers, and keep the ones you have.
  • Love What You Do It’s so easy to just give up. But if you’re really not enjoying Instagram, take a break. Basically if it feels like a chore, don’t waste your time on it. Go away and come back when you’re ready – whether that’s after a day, or a month. I did and it helped me come up with a new look for my feed, a new strategy, and it made me a lot happier.

You can follow me on Instagram @bloomzy and read more of my help posts here.

love instagram

5 Inspirational Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following

It’s been a rough time for Instagram. There have been scandals, controversy and people have generally lost their interest. But us long-term plans have stuck by it, and so I thought it was time to bring back my ‘Instagram 5′ series, and this time I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite inspirational Instagram accounts, to keep us all motivated.

Inspirational Instagram Accounts

Who? @asiyami_gold
Where? Worldwide
Why? Asiyami is a lady of many talents. As an art director and visual storyteller, her Instagram boasts beautiful images from her travels across the globe. However my love of her Instagram comes from her authentic, heartfelt messages, and inspirational designs.

Inspirational Instagram Accounts

Who? @streetview.portraits
Where? Worldwide
Why? I was first introduced to Streetview Portraits by Worshipblues. The account is run by someone with agoraphobia and anxiety, which limits them from travelling. Therefore they decided to see the world digitally, via Google Streetview. There’s something very inspirational about understanding where this account is coming from, not to mention travelling the world through someone else’s eyes.

Inspirational Instagram Accounts

Who? @vikkeview
Where? Copenhagen, Denmark
Why? 
Karen’s account is centred around ‘urban minimalism’. Her unique take on architecture, Danish lifestyle, and people is incredibly refreshing. Not to mention it’s extremely colourful and fun. I really love how she interprets ‘everyday’ things, and creates something beautiful from the ‘mundane’.

Inspirational Instagram Accounts

Who? @mikkoputtonen 
Where? London, UK
Why? You won’t find a more stylish guy than Mikko. His Instagram account effortlessly blends fashion, architecture and design. So much so that it reads like an editorial feature in a lifestyle magazine. I’m constantly inspired by Mikko’s dedication and individual photo style. Not to mention, he’s a great guy.

Inspirational Instagram Accounts

Who? @colorpalette.cinema
Where? n/a
Why? If you’re a photography/cinematography geek like me, then you’ll find inspiration in Colorpalette Cinema. The account takes stills from iconic movies, and combines them with their colour palettes. Design aficionados will find the Instagram useful, as well as an inspiration for their own work.

Do you have any favourite inspirational Instagram accounts?
Let me know in the comments!

Source: Please see the individual Instagram accounts listed above.

5 Male Lifestyle Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following

Instagram has had it’s ups and downs over the last few months. So I figured now was as good a time as any to bring back my ‘Instagram 5′ series. I’ve featured travel, lifestyle, Japanese fashion etc. However this time round I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite male lifestyle Instagram accounts.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @mklyns
Where? Chester, UK
Why? I only started following Michael recently, but it was an auto follow as soon as I saw his first three images. You’ll find cafe recommendations, travel and architecture shots, alongside male fashion. I particularly like the way he plays with shadows in some of his photos.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @jordanbunker
Where? Leicester / London, UK
Why? With so many Instagrammers going for the ‘all white’ look, Jordan’s photos are a breath of fresh air. He prefers darker colours, and sometimes the absence of colour entirely. It makes for a very moody – in a good way – and artistic Instagram.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @tibods
Where? Antwerp, Belgium
Why? 
I started following Tibod’s after falling in love with his interior shots. Not only does he had an apartment to die for, but an Instagram that matches too! I love his colour palette, and how put together every photo appears.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @mat_buckets
Where? Lancashire, UK
Why? I’d be crazy not to include Mat in this list. He was the first male lifestyle Instagram account I started following, and I’ve never looked back! He’s a very relatable, not to mention personable, kinda guy. And his photos are always on point. I love the pop of colour his Instagram brings.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @shaunyness 
Where? UK
Why? Shaun is still pretty new to Instagram, but I saw potential as soon as I landed on his profile. He’s got all the staples down – the pose, the lifestyle, the eagerness… But what I really like is that he often features some of his favourite Instagram accounts and photos on his profile. It’s always great to see someone sharing the love.

Do you have a favourite Male Lifestyle Instagram account?
Let me know in the comments!

Source: Please see the individual Instagram accounts listed above.

Is This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?

death of instagramIs This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?

Instagram is going through a bit a shit storm as of late, and that’s putting it nicely (sorry for the expletives). First it started with people liking old photos, then the confusing off topic comments came along, and suddenly a new algorithm. And now, well now we’ve got the constant following and unfollowing. And it’s left a lot of us feeling pretty jaded. Am I right, or am I right?

How & Why is it happening?

I’ve seen a lot of confusion on social, and people aren’t entirely certain what is going on. They’re seeing their follower numbers increase and decrease daily, whilst not actually moving at all. Big accounts have seen engagement drop (in fact we all have), and it’s left everyone asking why and how.

  • The New Algorithm Ever since Facebook bought out Instagram, they’ve constantly been adding and taking away features. The latest big addition was the new FB-feed style algorithm. Meaning we don’t get to see a chronological feed anymore. Instead we see the people Instagram thinks we want to see.
  • Follow, Unfollow Tools Yes, those people are not manually following and unfollowing 100 people a day. Well not the savvy ones anyway. For those of you that are up to date on your social tools, you’ll already know all about this. There are tons of sites and apps out there offering free or paid services that will automatically follow, unfollow, like, comment or send DMs for you via Instagram.
  • People Buying Followers This has become all too common. You’d be surprised at how many of the 10K+ crowd have actually earned their followers naturally and organically. The tell-tale sign is when someone has a lot of ‘ghost followers’. A ghost follower is an account that doesn’t have many photos, isn’t very active, but follows an awful lot of people. You can usually spot them by the lack of profile photo.
  • It’s Become Saturated There are just too many accounts now (over 600 million), which means it’s harder than ever to get yourself noticed.
  • But It’s Still a Big Accounts Game Even if people did want to get themselves noticed, it’s still pretty difficult when the big accounts are the ones being featured and mentioned.

Is This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?

Well this may not be the official death of Instagram, but it has definitely taken a fair few blows. It’s not safe to say yet whether it will come out of this whole, but with over 300 million daily users* it seems as though people aren’t completely tired of Instagram just yet.

Keep an eye out for my post on how you can save your Instagram account!

death of instagram

5 Instagram Travel Accounts You Should Be Following

You may remember my ‘Instagram 5′ series. Well it’s been a while since I last graced the blog with one, which is surprising as my love for the app is stronger than ever. Here I have picked out 5 of my favourite instagram travel accounts.

instagram travel

Who? @tokography
Why? This is one slick Instagram account. Tobias is constantly travelling the world, as is made evident by the “now in: …” section of his profile. I love his consideration of colour and viewpoints when shooting. This isn’t your typical travel account; you’ll definitely feel inspired to pick up your passport when browsing his feed.

 

instagram travel

Who? @josephowen
Why? With the prevalence of “big” travel Instagram accounts using DSLR, you may be shocked to find that Joe takes all of his photos on his iPhone. Even more so when you catch a glimpse of his crispy and clear photography.

 

instagram travel

Who? @iikkyu
Why? I started following Joe after I saw some of his photos from Tokyo (a city he visits often). I felt that he considered his subjects in a similar way to how I do so myself. That, and he’s also a big fan of Brooklyn coffee. You can take the boy out of London…

 

instagram travel

Who? @cerealguides
Why? Of course Cereal had to make it onto the list. The Cereal Guides (created by Rosalia Park), are in-depth guides to cities across the world. So far Cereal has released London, Paris and New York. Each guide offers an in-sight into the best cafes, restaurants, shops and places of interest. If you don’t know a local, this is the next best thing.

 

instagram travel

Who? @nihaojoe
Why? My friend Joe is currently travelling around India, and he’s an awesome photographer. Nuff said? Nuff said.

Do you have a favourite Instagram travel account?
Let me know in the comments!

Source: Please see the individual Instagram accounts listed above.