Priime Styles for Mac

Priime Styles for Mac Batch Editing

Disclosure: I am a style author and advisor for Priime.

One of my favorite ways to edit photos on my iPhone the past year has been with the Priime app for iOS. In addition to being one of the style creators for Priime, I’ve enjoyed utilizing the custom styles created by so many other talented photographers for my mobile photography. I don’t always have as much time to work with an image when I’m editing it on mobile and it’s nice to have some super easy styles that I can easily apply to my photos and quickly publish on the go.

As great an app as Priime for iOS is, 98% of my photos that I work with are still processed the old fashioned way, using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop on my iMac. One of the things that I love about using Lightroom in my workflow is that more and more you are finding quality external editors that can be used as part of your editing process. Recently Google made headlines when they decided to give away their Nik software (which I have also used for several years now and love). So I was really pleased to hear that in addition to the iOS app, Priime was also releasing an external editor for Lightroom.

The way that I use Priime Styles for Mac is as part of my normal Lightroom editing process. Here I can easily take a special photo (or batch of photos) and quickly move them into the Priime editor to make changes and then have copies saved back to the Lightroom catalog I’m working in. I don’t process every photo with Priime, but if I find one that is special I will often import it in there and work with it.

Sometimes you want just one final version of a photo, but oftentimes I find myself making multiple versions of a photo. While some photos look great in color or black and white. Some photos look great in color AND black and white. I like creating different versions of photographs and then later deciding which I like better or maybe even publishing a few different versions. Priime allows me to try different things with a photo that I may not have thought about creating organically myself in Lightroom. With over 100 different editing styles from some of the top photographers out there today, there are a lot of new things to explore.

Priime Styles for Mac Lightroom External Editor

The nice thing about editing something in Priime with Lightroom is that I can still iterate on that version even after I bring it back into Lightroom, adding additional edits or touches to the photo, customizing it more as my own even as I borrow edits from others.

I think Priime Styles for Mac will be an excellent Lightroom add on tool that serious and professional photographers can have at their disposal to make their photos look as good as possible.

In addition to more serious and professional photographers using Priime Styles for Mac as a Lightroom plug in, I think it also is a great first step for the new or emerging photographer. Some people are not quite ready yet to pay $10/month to Adobe every month to use Lightroom. They just want something that can quickly make their photos look better that’s a bit more affordable.

Even if you are not a Lightroom user, in fact especially if you are not a Lightroom user, Priime may be something for you. In addition to the Lightroom plug in, Priime can also be used as a standalone editor as well. You simply launch the app and then drag and drop the photos that you want to work with. For a lot of people $24.99 (on sale for launch) as a one time cost is a better value proposition than paying $9.99 a month ongoing for Lightroom.

PExploring Styles with Priime Styles for Mac

Priime Styles for Mac has a great Explore function as well. This allows you to look at all of the styles as they’d be applied to a photo at once, which makes it easier to narrow down what might look best.

Another way I think Priime can be helpful is for the less serious photographer/blogger who just wants a consistent look for a batch of photos. A lot of bloggers I know are not exactly photographers but need to include images with their posts. Priime Styles for Mac allows bloggers an easy go to solution where very quickly they can edit a batch of photos and have a consistency to their photos that makes them work much better together as part of a total post.

Anyways, check it out.

Priime Styles for Mac supports JPG, RAW and TIFF files.

47 Random Thoughts on Flickr in a Rambling Stream of Consciousness Format

Not exactly beat poetry, this list is a rambling mess of 45 things that I thought about tonight about my favorite photo sharing site Flickr. This list is very poorly written and absolutely lacks coherence. It’s a stream of consciousness jumble of unrelated thoughts about Flickr.

There is no order or rhyme or reason behind any of these thoughts. These are just my thoughts as a heavy user who uses the site every day.

1. Flickr could be the most successful stock photography site in the world. They could be bigger than Getty Images and could become the leader of a multi billion dollar industry.

2. On the Flickr mobile app, comments specifically take too long to load.

3. Yahoo requiring phone numbers to create accounts (and by extension Flickr) greatly reduces the amount of harassment and trolling that takes place on Flickr. This is a positive thing.

4. On the Flickr mobile app you eventually run out of your contacts’ photos. There should be no reason to run out. When people run out and it defaults to a repetitive staple of Flickr promoted photos this encourages the user to close the app and go to another social network. Flickr should strive to keep users in their app for as long as possible.

5. While the “connect” splash page in the mobile app encouraging users to try to hook up their Facebook and Twitter friends in Flickr is likely a good thing, after you have seen this splash screen 500 times it’s just wasting real estate. Flickr should limit the number of times it shows this screen to users or allow users to dismiss it after say 60, 70, 300 times it’s shown and no action is taken.

If you actually click on the “Facebook” button on the connect screen and follow it through, it is the most convoluted mess I’ve ever seen in a mobile app and asks for Facebook verifications, SMS, and all kinds of other things that no user would actually go through.

6. On the Flickr mobile app you can double tap to favorite a photo. Frequently I will accidentally tap the photo once and an unwanted larger version of the photo appears. Instagram does not have this problem. Might there be another gesture to open larger photos or an option for advanced users to disable one click photo opening?

7. Groups were where the magic happened in the early days of Flickr and the conversations that took place in the discussion forums were powerful social lubricant. By diminishing the discussion functionality of Groups, Flickr hurt social on Flickr. Groups can and should be rebuilt and represent Flickr’s greatest possible potential in social. The rebuild should focus on social and conversations over pool photos.

8. Flickr allows you to view your contacts’ photos by contacts and friends and family. More customization here would be helpful. Google+ failed but their idea for circles was interesting. Allowing advanced users the ability to create more than two buckets would be a wonderful power user feature.

9. Sometimes users will change the “date uploaded” on their photos to make their photos appear more often in their followers photos from contacts page. This can be annoying as a consumer of photography, but I get it, they want more views on their photos.

10. Flickr still needs strong block functionality. Facebook has done a much better job here and should be studied. If I block someone or someone blocks me, Flickr should do everything in its power to make sure that we are entirely invisible to each other. This should include making comments invisible from someone you are blocking in all areas of the site, including the help forum and groups especially. When you block someone their photos should not appear in your search results on Flickr.

11. When you block someone their existing comments will be removed from your photos. This should happen faster than it happens at present.

12. My single personal biggest complaint with Flickr today has to do with the photos from my contacts page. As the page adds photos it jumps around. Very often exactly as I’m going to favorite a photo the entire page will jump and I will accidentally open a photo that I did not mean to open. This page should remain static and in place as new photos are loaded.

13. Collections and Profiles should both be included under the “You” menu at the top of the Flickr page.

14. Explore is interesting but it would be more interesting if there were two versions. One for general Flickr and one specifically for the people that you are following.

15. Flickr needs a better way for Flckrmail to work on mobile.

16. The non-app mobile site for flickr m.flickr.com is very slow. Chrome users frequently have to use “request desktop site” to use the web version of Flickr on mobile.

17. Publicly designating Flickr “Pro” accounts as well as prominently showing the date someone joined the site are very helpful tools. It allows users a good way to gauge authenticity of accounts.

18. I never use any of the camera or editing functionality of the flickr mobile app.

19. Flickr is currently the best site on the internet for photo sharing for more serious photographers.

20. On the Flickr photo page there is a “date taken” field. This field should link to the archive view of that date for the photographer in question.

21. I love using SuprSetr for managing my albums on Flickr. I don’t know why when using SuprSetr Flickr’s API limits me to 4,500 photos in an album.

22. Personal interestingness scores seem to have deteriorated over time on Flickr. There especially seems to be given preference for more recent photos, but overall it feels like it’s heavily discounting the value of favorites, comments and other social data. The result is that when using the Flickr API to sort a SuprSetr album by interestingness, it is not really in the best order.

23. Similarly with search on Flickr when you search and rank by interestingness. A photo with 1 favorite should not appear ahead of a photo with 100 favorites.

24. The “albums” page for Flickr users should not have any paging at all, it should infinite scroll forever.

25. Recent Activity is the most important page on Flickr. It is so well done and the ability to filter it by different types of activity is very powerful.

26. I wish Flickr had so much more infinite scroll than it does. While iterating on designs over the past few years there was a point when it had more than it has today. If I had it my way I’d never have to page on Flickr for anything ever.

27. Stats are awesome and worth the price of Pro alone.

28. When looking at your Flickr contacts’ photos if your mouse is over a photo and you press the F key on the keyboard it should favorite that photo.

29. I miss notes in Flickr.

30. In most areas of Flickr they use an empty star for an unfavorited photo and a full white star for a favorited photo — except on the photos from your contacts page where a full white star means the photos is unfavorites and a pink star means the photos if favorited. Flickr should be more consistent. On the photos from your contacts’ page it should be changed to match the format with the rest of the site.

31. When you hover over a tag on Flickr it should tell you who added that tag. Flickr used to do this.

32. Flickr should show more than 6 albums on the main photo page without a user having to click on “show more albums.”

33. I love the fact that flickr uses AI to auto tag my photos with tags that I forgot.

34. Sometimes I feel like I’m interacting with photos from people on Flickr that are just autoposts from their instagram accounts and that these people do not really interact on Flickr. Instagram auto posts to flickr diminish the authenticity of the flickr experience and are much less valuable than organic posts to flickr.

35. Interestingly enough my own personal Instagram to Flickr functionality has been completely broken for about a year. Probably Instagram’s fault though.

36. Sometimes if I put 16 photos in the uploader form to upload some of the photos immediately generate a thumbnail while others might take several minutes to generate a thumbnail. I’m not sure why this is and feel like all photos should generate a thumbnail immediately.

37. It is a very cool thing that Flickr has figured out a way for both regular content and adult oriented content to exist on the same site.

38. I wish there were a way for flickr to identify photos that have signatures, watermarks or borders and then give me an option to eliminate those photos from my search results.

39. Flickr is an amazing tool to find things to photograph if you are going to be visiting some place new. It’s my number one “go to” place for researching things to photograph ahead of any trip that I embark on.

40. I’d love to see “suggested” facial tags for my flickr photo stream that would go into a holding bin for my approval and private photo facial recognition along the lines of what Google Photos offers today, grouping people into private albums.

41. Yahoo Image search should rely much more heavily on Flickr than it does. Flickr has the largest, high quality, highly organized collection of images on the internet today. Yahoo image search should strive to send traffic to Flickr photos over other photos on the web and should weight Flickr images and Flickr tagged images (and especially highly rated interestingness images) very high in their image and web search results.

42. It’s harder for me to blog flickr images on my blog than it used to be. The html doesn’t render right. Having the old code was cleaner.

43. I should be able to have an easy option to exclude certain flickr users from my search results when searching for images on Flickr. This is different than a block, I should just be able to easily exclude a list of users from my search results.

44. With regards to search results there are two different thumbnail views I can select. I wish I had a third that was just a bit bigger and more consistent with the size of photos on the “photos from my contacts’” page.

45. I always visit the Flickr page of anyone who adds me as a contact on Flickr. If I like what I see I add them back. If their photos have signatures, watermarks, or are largely commercial related images I never add them back.

46. You should be able to like or +1 individual comments on Flickr like you can on Facebook and Google+.

47. For some reason I can view the last 1 or 5 photos from my friends but I can only load the last 1 photo from all my contacts. The last 5 photos from my contacts causes the page to hang.

In Defense of Flickr

In Defense of Flickr

I’ve read two articles this week that appear critical of Flickr and thought I’d take a moment to address both, as well as share some of my own thoughts on Flickr. I have been a heavy Flickr photographer for over a decade and for most of this past decade have been active on the site on a daily basis. I’m also active on a number of other photo related and social networking sites as well.

The first article out comes from PhotoShelter’s Allen Murabayashi via Petapixel and is titled, “Flickr’d Out: The Rise and Fall of a Photo Sharing Service.” The second article comes from Wired by David Pierce and is titled, “Time to Give up on Flickr Everybody.

The primary objection in both articles seems to relate to Flickr’s recent decision to limit their desktop uploader to paid Pro accounts only.

Personally speaking I don’t use Flickr’s desktop uploader. I would rather carefully curate my library of images on Flickr than use Flickr as a dumb dumping ground or shoebox for every single photo I’ve ever taken in my life. However, I do understand Flickr’s decision to limit this tool to paid accounts. Storage is not free and replicated enterprise storage is even more costly than your standard 2TB Western Digital or Seagate Amazon special.

My guess (just a guess) as to why Flickr made this change has to do with the value proposition. If some Flickr users were simply using Flickr as a place to backup their desktop photos without really sharing photos or engaging in the site, this might have very limited value to Yahoo. Yahoo is giving users something of value by providing them with a free terabyte of storage for photos, but if free users are just dumping private photos to the site as a backup source and not engaging socially, this significantly diminishes the value to Yahoo. In my mind it makes sense to expect these users to pay for storage. Yahoo could just go on providing everyone this free storage for the goodwill it generates, but this would make it harder for Flickr to remain profitable longer term.

Even though I do not use the desktop uploader, I am a paid Flickr Pro user and have been for over 10 years and will continue to be for probably as long as Flickr continues to exist and honor the terms of my original agreement with them. Flickr remains the primary library for my archive of images for several important reasons.

1. Flickr is giving me an unlimited amount of photo storage as a paid-Pro member. Yes, that is right, as a legacy Pro account Flickr has given me *unlimited* photo sharing. Flickr now limits accounts to 1 terabyte, but for 99.9% of folks that still is effectively unlimited.

Even if you filed up a terabyte though you could always simply open up a second Flickr account if you wanted.

In my case I am actually one of those rare .1% that uses over 1 terabyte. Having uploaded almost 115,000 full sized DSLR high res photos to the site over the past decade my storage use currently stands at 1.07 terabytes of unlimited. If you are lucky enough to have one of the old skool Flickr Pro accounts I’d encourage you to never let it lapse.

2. Flickr allows full high res original JPG uploads. A lot of people point to Google Photos’ free desktop uploader as a reason not to pay for Flickr Pro. However, there is one very important difference between Flickr and Google Photos. Google Photos downsizes and resizes your photos to a high quality web version. While this may be fine for looking at your photos on the web, if you ever need a high res original you will have to pay Google for storage.

Google would charge you $9.99/month for a terabyte of high res original storage which would equate to $119.88/year vs. Flickr Pro at $49.99/year. When announcing the change for their desktop uploader Flickr also offered users a 30% discount so you can get Flickr Pro right now for $34.99/year. $35 a year for a terabyte of full, perfect JPG originals is a pretty good deal in my opinion and less expensive than Google Photos.

I also use Google Photos in addition to my paid Flickr account and think it is a great service as well, but if you are using it as your primary cloud based backup, you should beware that your photos will be downsized unless you pay. In my case, I sell a lot of my photos and most image buyers need a high res original. It’s nice that I can just send them a link to the high res original on Flickr and they can easily download the photo directly from Flickr.

3. Flickr lets me organize my albums by keywords. Albums are very important to me. I have over 2,000 albums at this point. I have albums for my photos that have been favorited 100 times or more. I have albums for photos that have green as the primary color. I have albums of bands and musical acts that I’ve photographed. I have albums for each city of the 100 largest American cities that I’m currently photographing.

Flickr lets me create albums and collections both, but the key difference between Flickr and Google Photos here is that using Flickr’s API, Jeremy Brooks has built SuprSetr which will automatically scan all of my photos and group photos into the correct albums based on the keywords that I enter for my images as part of my workflow in Adobe Lightroom. This automation makes managing albums so much easier.

4. Flickr allows me to share all of my images both publicly and privately. In my case 99% of the images I post to Flickr are public. I like using Flickr as public place to share my archive with the rest of the world. Google Photos services is really designed for private photos only.

On Google Photos you have to share photos or albums manually and public photo sharing is much more difficult. I’ve also found that sharing photos can take up to an hour for a link to work on Google Photos and the whole sharing process is very buggy. I like the feedback that I get on my photos from the broader public on Flickr. I sort of look at Flickr as my own personal art gallery and love that people can browse my photos and favorite, tag and comment.

You can keep photos private on Flickr as well, but it has a much better public option for photos than Google Photos.

5. Flickr is social. Even though Facebook and Instagram are probably considered more social than Flickr, I still find Flickr to be a very social place. I have many old friends and many new friends that I’ve met on Flickr and interact with on a daily basis.

I think Flickr lost a bit of their social when they redesigned groups and shifted the emphasis away from forums and hope that at some point they bring groups back to what they can and should be, but even without strong groups I find the daily social interaction I get from other Flickr users to be a very fun part of using the service for me.

Every day I comment on photos and others comment on mine. I’ve met many people from Flickr personally as I’ve travelled around the country and have found it to be a wonderful engaging and social place for friendships.

6. Flickr Pro is ad-free. This is huge in my book. It seems like every 7th photo I view on Instagram these days is a “sponsored” post. I hate it when I accidently favorite a photo on Instagram only to quickly notice that I just favorited an advertisement for Citigroup or Toyota or Dom Perignon. Advertising on both Facebook and Instagram is getting worse and worse every day it seems. I also don’t like how the ads try to target me.

With a paid Flickr Pro account not only do I never see ads when using the site, but other people who are not Pro don’t have to see ads on my photo pages either. I like that Flickr doesn’t market to my friends as part of our Pro deal.

By the way another one of my favorite social networks, Ello, also is ad-free. Photos on Ello look better than probably anywhere else on the web right now.

7. Flickr has a good system for dealing with nudity and other more adult content. Nudity can be tricky. Google, Facebook and Instagram just ban it outright. Personally I think that the human body can be a beautiful thing and certainly a work of art. It’s not something that offends me.

Flickr allows each user to set the limits for what they want to see. If you only want to see safe for work stuff, you can set Flickr to that for you. If you want to also view NSFW fine art or personal photos you can allow restricted content. By default everyone at Flickr is set to safe only, but if you want to see more provocative photos you can change your settings.

8. Flickr has a very well designed web version and also a really strong mobile app as well. Even though I sometimes complain that Flickr’s mobile app limits the number of my contacts’ photos that I can see, in general it is very well done. It is fast and beautiful and very functional. They really did a terrific job with the app. Similarly the web based redesigns that Flickr has done over the last several years have been very positive in my opinion (even if I do wish there was *MUCH* more infinite scrolling).

Flickr and Google Photos are not the only two web based services to consider for your photos. SmugMug is another nice paid option, especially if you want an ecommerce engine to sell photos (although less social than Flickr). 500px is worth looking at.

Even though I hate the advertising and the massive downsizing of photos I still have accounts on Instagram and Facebook — although I try to spend as little time there as possible.

Ello as mentioned previously is probably the social network I’m most excited about right now (seriously, look how beautiful photos look on Ello).

I also think for pure cloud backup every photographer should be using Amazon’s unlimited photo storage. While Amazon’s download and search functionality could really use work, Amazon will actually store your RAW original files for free if you have a Prime membership.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everything at Flickr is perfect. I’ve been yammering on for years that they should offer a credible stock photography offering to anyone who will listen. I doubt that they could get this done under a corporate parent like Yahoo, but Flickr probably has the largest highly organized database of high quality images in the world today. If they could turn that into a stock photography business by partnering with (and rewarding) their photographers, I honestly believe it could be bigger than Getty Images, the current king of the multi billion dollar stock photography business.

I also think that Groups on Flickr could be so much more powerful if only organized right and really focused on the discussion threads more than as dumping pools for images.

Explore and interestingness could also be overhauled in some very powerful ways.

Even as Flickr remains less than perfect it still remains in my mind the best place to host your primary archive of photos on the web for photo sharing and for that reason I take issue with the two posts I read this week suggesting the decline of Flickr. For me Flickr is alive and well and I’m looking forward to spending the next decade on the site much like the last.

You can find me on Flickr here. Stop by and say hi some time — let’s be friends. 🙂

Cable TV is So Broken, Can Apple and Google Save Us All?

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, Allen & Company, 2015
Billionaire Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

Last night I spent a frustrating hour trying to cancel Showtime with Comcast, my current cable TV provider. I could not find (nor is there) any way to cancel any Comcast service online and their customer service department was closed.

Finally I was able to get chatty with one of those chatbots online who confirmed to me that there is simply no way to cancel Showtime on Comcast without speaking with a human representative. Even though the chatbot convinced me they were a human, they were not allowed to cancel it for me and I would need to try again tomorrow on the phone only. Interestingly enough I had no problem signing up for Showtime online originally, it’s just when you want to cancel that Comcast gives you such a hard time.

This morning after navigating the Comcast phone voice response menu I was finally able to talk to a human being, who tried to talk me out of cancelling my Showtime. I was committed though and I did finally get it cancelled.

I actually love Showtime and don’t mind paying for it. Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan are two of my favorite shows on right now. I also like the series Homeland. I had several reasons for cancelling it with *Comcast* though.

1. Why am I paying Comcast $19.99/month for Showtime when I can just buy it direct from Showtime on my AppleTV for a free 30 day trial and then $10.99/month after that?

2. Watching Showtime using the AppleTV app through Comcast is a royal pain in the ass. I’ve had to re-authenticate and prove I’m a paying cable customer at least 20 times with the app.

I go to watch one of my shows and am interrupted with a message and code on the AppleTV telling me that I have to go to Showtime online on my phone or computer and authenticate. Next I have to log into my Comcast account enter in the code from my television set and then after that I finally get my access.

I wouldn’t mind it if I did this one time, the first time I signed up for the app, but having to re-authenticate over and over and over again, especially late at night when I’m in bed and just want to watch my favorite show is a drag.

3. Last night I wanted to watch episode 2 of the current season of Master’s of Sex on the app but it wasn’t available. I could only watch episode 3. I have no idea why Comcast customers were not allowed to watch episode 1 or 2, but I didn’t want to watch episode 3, before episode 2, so I just gave up and didn’t get to watch a show that I’m paying $20/month for. No wonder so many people just say screw it and go to bitTorrent.

4. I hate the way Comcast abuses the AppleTV ecosystem. If I pay for CNN with Comcast, why do they not allow me to watch it on my AppleTV. Comcast’s decisions here feel entirely arbitrary. They will let me watch CNBC if I subscribe, but not CNN. I can watch HBO (although I have the same re-authentication problem there over and over again) but when my wife wants to watch Lifetime she has to figure out some weird hack to try to authenticate the app through some hard to find link in a forum on the internet.

It is clear to me that Comcast is purposely trying to make your AppleTV experience an ugly and difficult one and so any chance I can get to bypass Comcast and purchase premium content elsewhere, I’d rather do that — by contrast Netflix has always been an absolute breeze to use with my AppleTV.

According to Buzzfeed today, Apple is rolling out a new version of AppleTV in September which will be setting AppleTV up to offer their own subscription service in 2016. This is such welcome news. I love my AppleTVs and if I could get my content directly through Apple I’d love to cancel my Comcast cable TV subscription entirely.

I’m much more optimistic about an AppleTV service working on my AppleTV than Comcast’s current service. Also with AppleTV I can just buy a device one time and don’t need to have a cable box for every single TV in my house at a price of $10/month each. Will Apple finally be the one that saves us from Comcast?

My other beef with Comcast is their highspeed internet service. At present I’m paying for the maximum speeds I’m allowed which give me 120MBps down and 10MBps up. Frankly, in today’s world these just feel too slow to me — especially the 10MBps upload speeds. I use the internet a lot for uploading high res photos and I wish I could get faster upload speeds.

I was excited about Comcast’s new residential gigabit service announcement the other day until I saw the pricing for it: $1,000 to set it up and $320/month with a two year commitment. PC World lists the service at $300/month, but when I called to ask about it they told me that there would also be a $20/month equipment rental fee on top of that fee. That’s just too expensive for high speed internet.

By contrast Google sells their gigabit internet service for $70/month with no installation fee — which is even less than I’m paying Comcast today for my crappy 10MB/second upload speeds — for less money Google Fiber users can upload 100x faster than I can.

I was reluctantly willing to pay Comcast’s highway robbery fees for gigabit internet and was hopeful when a Comcast rep told me I could get it. They told me though that they would need to do a survey of my house in person to confirm and would call me for an appointment. I never heard back from them on this appointment so after a week I called them back only to be told that they did in fact do the survey and that I did not qualify at present.

Unfortunately AppleTV’s subscription television is not here…. yet. Unfortunately Google Fiber is not here… yet. Hopefully both of these services will eventually get to my neighborhood though. It would be so nice to just be able to cut Comcast out of my life entirely.

While I realize I could just go ahead and cut the cord right now, with a family of six, the rest of my household is just not ready to cut the cord yet and I’d have a mutiny on my hands if I cancelled our Comcast — so for now I continue to pay my $233/month. However, I’m looking optimistically towards the future, to a day when Apple and Google will let me cut Comcast out of my life for good.

Flickr Brings Back Pro

Thomas Hawk, Pure Pro

“It’s about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.” Elliott Erwitt

“Hell hath no fury like that of a ‘professional’ photographer scorned.” Thomas Hawk

A few years ago, shortly after Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo, Flickr did away with their paid pro account. Existing pros could keep this distinction (and pay for it) and were grandfathered, but new pro accounts could not be opened.

Announcing that decision Mayer took a bunch of heat for suggesting that there really wasn’t much of a distinction between professional and amatuer photographers anymore — a statement which she later clarified. As Bart Simpson might say, aye caramba senora Mayer!

Nothing pisses off so called professional photographers more than to minimize their self-important “pro” moniker and lump them in with every Tom, Dick, and Harry, or these days Jane, Jill and Mary as just another shutterbug with an iPhone 6+ or a Canon 5D Mark 3. The truth of the matter is though that the economics of photography have been changing for years now and much to the chagrin of the “professional,” the economics of photography have never been more disbursed. Between microstock, macrostock, laughingstock, micro four thirds and Getty Images, about 10 million more people are in the game than were a few decades ago — and yes even those iPhone shooters on EyeEm.

All of which has nothing to do with Flickr and their pro accounts, which was just a title given for paid vs. free accounts.

In the early days, Flickr offered two levels of service, pro or free. Free accounts were limited to sharing only their last 200 images, while pro accounts got unlimited photos on the site. It was a way for people to try Flickr before committing to paying for it, or as Michael Arrington put it back in 2011, a way for Flickr to hold your photos hostage. Most people didn’t pay, but the most serious users did and were recognized with a special little badge labeling them as a cut above the rest. They also didn’t have to look at ads or have ads appear on their photos for others.

Mayer did away with the pro account at Flickr in 2013 and granted every free user a full terabyte of storage on the site with no 200 photo limitation. Flickr opened up and become free and unlimited for 99.999% of potential users (1 terabyte is a lot). This was a *huge* move on Flickr’s part. Replicated enterprise storage is not cheap and I suspect today has become one of the most significant costs for Yahoo in running Flickr.

Well all that changes today with the return of the pro account at Flickr. The new pro is a little different than the old pro, but I think it’s great that Flickr is bringing back pro and think it still represents terrific value for the serious pro or amateur photographer.

Before we get into the new pro, it’s important to point out that for those of us lucky birds who have been grandfathered into the old pro account nothing changes. We still keep our unlimited photo storage, ad free status for both our photos and our browsing, and heck, what a deal, $24.99/year! We will also even get a brand new pro account badge back on our accounts like the new pros.

So what about this new pro account, how does the new pro account work?

Well for starters it’s more expensive than the old pro. The new Flickr pro account will cost you $49.99/year. If you want to you can choose more of a pay as you go model at $5.99/month, but if you do the math that will be considerably more expensive than committing for a year.

For that money you get a few things.

First you get the distinction of a pro icon on your Flickr account. This may sound dumb but really it’s not. Especially on a social network where anonymous trolls can easily create throwaway accounts and blocking tools are really bad, when you see a pro icon on Flickr you will be taken more seriously. You are invested.

More significantly, in my opinion, you get the same ad free status for your own photos and for your own browsing. If you are pro you can rest assured that Aunt Millie will not have to see ads when she looks at your photos of this year’s 4th of July barbecue. Likewise, as you browse Flickr yourself you’ll be completely exempt from having to view any advertising. This alone is worth the price of pro. Any path out of having to view ads is worth it in my opinion. If only Facebook could see the light.

Another interesting deal is that by signing up for pro you can get a 20% discount off of Adobe’s Creative Cloud offer (for the annual subscription only). That’s actually a pretty good bargain. Most serious photographers use Lightroom and Photoshop. At $120/year for Adobe’s Creative Cloud software this pays for about half of your pro account if you use Lightroom and Photoshop.

And then there are stats. I love my pro stats on Flickr. I look at them every day. Maybe it’s just pure vanity or maybe it’s just curiosity about where my Creative Common Non-Commercial licensed Flickr photos are appearing elsewhere online, but I love stats. Not only do pros get access to a sophisticated stats panel, it’s now been improved to give you even more information about your photos.

Finally, you get free shipping on any Flickr merchandise ordered domestically or 50% off shipping for international orders — and just in time for that special Labor Day photo book you were going to make up for your sister-in-law this year — just kidding, but, you know, Yom Kippur will be here before you know it.

Of course the biggest missing feature of the new pro over the old grandfathered pro (lucky me), is the promise of unlimited photo storage. New pro accounts are still limited to the 1 terabyte (which in fairness is more than 99.999% of photographers will ever need, but as someone who has used up 970GB of my 1,000GB by only age 47, I’m glad I still get unlimited). I’m planning on publishing 1,000,000 high res photos to Flickr before I die.

By the way, if you really, really, really want pro but don’t want to pay for it, I suggest you strike up a friendship with Pacdog. I swear that guy has probably bought and given out like 50 pro accounts for his friends over the years. He’s the most humble Donald Trump type character on Flickr pro and very generous with his paid upgrades for his best friends on Flickr.

If you want more info on how to upgrade to pro on Flickr you can find that here.

Thomas Hawk = PURE PRO! You can find me on Flickr here.

Allen & Company Media Conference, 2015 — Sun Valley, ID

Tesla and SpaceX CEO, and Solar City Chairman, Elon Musk, Sun Valley Idaho, Allen & Company Conference, July 2015

I published I set of 247 billionaires and media moguls from last week’s Allen & Company Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. You can see the entire set here.

ANKR $25 for Piece of Mind

ANKR

I just installed an ANKR in my camera bag. Over the past 10 years I’ve had this reoccurring dream about my camera gear and my backpack being stolen. I’ve actually had two cameras stolen over the years unfortunately.

When you use your camera every day like I do, it’s a hazard to have to deal with. My friend Trey Ratcliff was jacked of his camera bag earlier this year. So I was very pleased to learn about ANKR. ANKR is a new product that alerts you when you become separated from your gear. The ANKR itself is super small, not much thicker than a quarter. I hid mine in a hidden area of my backpack and now if my backpack and I become separated I’ll get an immediate alert. It boggles my mind why somebody did not come out with such a helpful and useful tool 5 years ago.

Although I’m sure an ANKR is not foolproof, it’s at least a first line of defense against your gear being taken or stolen. I frequently walk around with over $10,000 worth of gear in my backpack and I would just be crushed if I lost it. $25 seems like a very small price to pay for piece of mind.

Setting up ANKR was super easy. I turned the ANKR on, downloaded the ANKR app and it found it right away. It created a “safe zone” so that I will never get an alert if my camera bag is at home (you can set up more safe zones as well), but if I’m out and about and become separated from my bag I’ll get an alert. I can also see on a map exactly where my bag was when we were separated which might be helpful for me to recover it.

ANKR is a wonderful new tool to help combat theft. I have a feeling I’m going to be purchasing a few more of these. I think I’d like to attach one to my camera strap itself, in case my camera is out of the bag and stolen. I can see lots of other applications for this tech as well (kids, car keys, car, wallet, luggage, etc.). Hopefully the more tech like this is used, the less successful thieves will be with stealing stuff.

Ads on Social Networks Suck. ello.co — San Francisco, CA

Ads on Social Networks Suck

Are you on Ello yet? If not you are missing out on the best photography community on the web right now. It’s a wonderful ad-free social network where your photos are published *BIG* like they are meant to be seen. Some truly amazing photographers are publishing some truly amazing work there right now.

This is some Ello street art I photographed out on 7th street earlier today.

Come check it out and let’s be friends there too. You can find me at Ello here: http://ello.co/thomashawk

🙂

10 Reasons You Should be on Ello

10 Reasons You Should be on Ello

1. Because you are a leader not a follower. Because you pave the way. You are a trailblazer. You are like Lewis and Clark, like Henry Ford, like Jackie Robinson. Ride Sally Ride. You skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been. You do not stick around Europe for the Bubonic Plague. You hop on a boat and sail away. Far away. You’re like a pirate, or better yet, a pilgrim, albeit a very thirsty pilgrim who likes whiskey and is also much nicer to your American Indian friends.

Who cares that your mother and your aunt and that guy from 2nd grade or the mailroom guy at work are not on Ello. You are, and when they finally get there you will be able to brag about being there first.

2. Because ads suck. Are you tired of seeing those creepy ads that follow you around the internet? Yeah, you know the ones. You weren’t even going to buy the bikini you were just checking out the site for “artistic inspiration” and the next thing you know there it sticks for six months on your Facebook page, popping up each time you visit unless you uninstall and reinstall your browser. I don’t want to buy a BMW. I don’t want to go to Arby’s. I don’t want 40% off at Banana Republic. I don’t want to accidently click on a photo only to discover it’s a “sponsored post” from Dos Equis. Ads suck. Not only does Ello not have ads today, as a public benefit corporation they never will.

Earlier this week what were top Facebook and Twitter execs pushing at Cannes Lions? Yep, you guessed it, how to advertise at you even more.

Oh and that includes Instagram too. Things are about to get much, much worse there.

What was Paul Budnitz, co-founder of Ello talking about during Cannes Lions? How to be a good husband and father.

3. Because your life is not an algorithm. Are you tired of Facebook burying your posts and hiding them from your friends? You shouldn’t have to pay to sponsor your own posts to your own friends. Tired of missing important updates from the people that you care about or having to navigate complex settings just to try to see what you want to see?

You are not a machine or a robot so why should your social network treat you like one — even though robots are super cool and you might like them, or movies or dreams about them, it doesn’t mean you are one.

Take back control over Facebook’s secret algorithm and maintain your friends in two simple buckets, friends/noise. Oh and don’t be too noisy. 🙂

4. Because everyone is a photographer and our photos deserve to be seen large. Bottom line, photos look better, bigger. Photos look better when they are the size that you upload them as, not compressed and miniturized and mixed in with a bunch of ads and game invites and dumb memes and other clutter.

Your photos matter. Your art matters. Everyone is an artist and everyone should care about their art. You tell me, which site shows your photos better?

5. Because variety is the spice of life. Tired of seeing the same posts by the same people over and over and over again on the Facebook algorithm? Why not make some new friends? Some of the most creative people in the universe are publishing some truly epic art on Ello right now, while you are reading this post.

Tired of Facebook just recycling content from the same 15 people over and over again in your feed? Come to Ello and discover something fresh, something new, something inspiring. Do you like to travel? Check out Ello Travel. Do you like photography? Check out Ello Photography. Do you like food? Check out Ello cooking. Truly fine community curated content.

Integrate yourself in some new verticals and open up your world a little bit.

6. Because life should not have to be SFW. Humans are amazing creatures and the human body is a beautiful thing. Breastfeeding is natural. There’s nothing wrong with boobs. Ello will never censor or remove fine art celebrating the human body. In fact, Ello itself curates a super interesting feed of NSFW content.

Facebook and Google won’t let you host or view the naked human body. Don’t worry though, if you are one of the more modest types there is a very easy setting on Ello to filter out any NSFW content from your Ello experience. The difference is that on Ello *you* choose what you want to see or not see.

7. Because Ello is a super positive community. Tired of seeing hate and abuse on Twitter? Tired of seeing pointless arguments about politics and name calling on Facebook? Ello is one of the friendliest places on the web right now. The community is empowered. You are not a cog in a machine or fuel for the advertising furnace, you are part of a bigger social movement where people are committed and care about making Ello a welcoming place for all.

People on Ello take this responsibility seriously and you will find some beautiful, generous people who want to build you up not tear you down. Abuse and hate has been non-existent on Ello. As Ello gets larger, undoubtedly some of this may creep in, but Ello has a strong blocking tool and a serious commitment to fighting internet harassment and abuse.

8. Because the people who run Ello day in and day out care. One of the things you will find at Ello is that the folks running the show are not just nameless, faceless individuals. The people behind Ello are some of the most passionate, committed, thoughtful people dedicated to personal expression and social empowerment on the web.

Who are the people behind Ello? They are publicly listed and I’d encourage you to check them out and learn a little bit more about who is running the most exciting and growing community on the web right now. The people who run Ello are accessible and care about what you think about your community. They themselves are as big a part of the community as any of us and contribute beautiful art and work every single day.

9. Because the iOS app is awesome! Have you tried the new Ello iPhone app? It rocks (don’t worry Android users, an Android app is in the works too). The new Ello iOS app is elegant and beautiful, just like the web version. More on the Ello iOS app here.

10. Because the web is a new virtual museum and Ello has the best art. You will find some of the best art being produced today on Ello. Not only will you find artists and photographers posting their own work, but you will find thoughtful curators also sharing and properly crediting amazing art all over the world.

You can find me on Ello here. Stop by and say hi and lets be friends. 🙂

Get it While It’s Hot! Ello Launches iOS App!

Teaser:  Ello's iOS app is Launching Tomorrow :)

A lot of you who follow my photography and blog know that I’ve been super excited about Ello, my favorite new social network on the web. Today Ello gets even a little bit better with the official launch of their iOS app. They just launched the iOS app about 10 minutes ago, but it may take a little bit of time to propagate in the app store before you will be able to download it.

I’ve been testing a beta version of the app for the past few weeks and absolutely love it.

If you are a photographer and are not using Ello, I’d encourage you to give it a spin. Put simply, your photos will look better on Ello than on any other social sharing site on the web today. Looking at my photos on a 5k iMac in extra large, full, high res glory just can’t be compared with any other photo network out there. Ello shows your photos huge, as they are meant to be seen.

I love that Ello was designed for the web first and foremost, but one is not always at one’s computer and so having a mobile app these days is really important. Ello’s initial release is for iOS and the iPhone, but they have plans to ship an Android version later on in the future.

Like the web version of Ello, what I love about the iOS app is the elegance of its design and its simplicity.

Basically the app does six things for you really well.

1. Ello’s iOS app allows you to browse content by the people you follow. You get two buckets for your contacts at Ello, friends and noise. You can browse either stream and easily love and comment on content that you find interesting and engaging directly from your iOS device.

2. Ello’s iOs app allows you to look at your own content stream. You can go to your own stream and expand comments as well as scroll through your entire stream of posts from most recent to oldest.

3. Ello’s iOs app allows you to look at your notifications page. Here you can see when someone adds you, or when someone specifically mentions you in a post by name, or when someone loves or comments on a photo of yours. This is a great tool to stay on top of the interaction on your content.

4. Ello’s iOS app allows you to discover new content on Ello’s discover page. I’m not sure how content is selected for Ello’s discover page, but there is some super cool stuff. If you run out of photos to look at by your friends, check out discover too.

5. Ello’s iOS app allows you to post your own content with or without a photo. Like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other sites, you can post messages, status updates, and photos directly from the app. Unlike Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and others, Ello does not mix advertisements or promoted posts in with your content or sell your data to advertisers.

6. Ello’s iOs app allows you to easily search for other users on Ello. You can search for users and even better you can let Ello search through your contacts on your phone and show you which of your friends are already on Ello and let you invite any who are not.

Overall I’ve found the beta version of Ello’s iOs app to be super smooth. I love the animations that come with the app. When you first load the app up, you get this cool spinning Ello logo while it loads content for you. As content streams in you get a sort of pulsating gray ball letting you know that an individual post is loading. It’s obvious that a lot of thought went into how to make Ello’s app simple, elegant and intuitive.

I’ve been using the beta version of the Ello iOS app every single day since I’ve installed it and even though it’s beta it has not crashed or locked up on me once. The app is super stable.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ello, Ello is structured as a public benefit corporation. There will never be any advertisements on Ello and they will never sell your data. Ello takes your privacy very seriously and in my opinion is the most user centered social network on the web/iOS today.

The people that run Ello are very solid. They are community focused and driven. One of the big reasons why I’m so high on Ello is because I’ve spent some time familiarizing myself with the founders and I think they represent some of the most sincere integrity in the social networking space today. They can definitely be trusted with your content and my content and they deserve our support.

In addition to a great team running Ello, the community itself is one of the most creative communities on the web. I’m continuously blown away at the talent and artistic vision of the artists, designers, photographers and thinkers that are part of the early Ello community. Not only will you find some of the most awe inspiring visual work on the web today, you will find that behind that work is one of the most inclusive, friendly and welcoming communities to date. While you can block people on Ello, fortunately there has been very little abuse thus far and people seem to get along really well.

For those of my friends who are already there, I’m really digging your work. For those of my friends who are not there yet, I hope you take a few seconds out today to download Ello’s new iOS app and I’d love to know what you think about it and see more of your work there in the future. If you want to connect on Ello you can find me here.

If you want to learn a little bit more about Ello, check out this great video below by Lucian and Todd where they talk a little more about what Ello is all about.

More from: The Verge, TechCrunch, readwrite, Los Angeles Times, Engadget.


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