Sunday, October 6, 2013

Microphotography using a home-built focusing and lighting rig

Super Macro: Crane fly wing - 16 image stack shot using a Reichert Plan 10/0.25 160/- microscope objective mounted on a 50mm extension tube on the rig shown below
In recent times, I have been fascinated and inspired by the amazing images produced by photographers such as John Hallman, Brian Valentine (Lord V) and Charles Krebs.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to try my hand using microscope objectives on my DSLR. The first objective that I tried was a Reichert Plan 10/0.25 160/-, having heard good reports of the Austrian made Metallurgical objectives.

The only problems with using this setup is that the working distance can be as small as a few millimeters, with a depth of field of 1/10th of a millimeter or smaller. As a result focusing needs to be very precise and it is necessary to perform minute incremental adjustments in focus by moving the whole camera and lens. Additionally, the whole setup needs to also be sturdy and free of vibrations.

With these requirement in mind, I decided to build a dedicated microphotography rig which I could use longterm. Being a bit of a hoarder and tinkerer, I decided to try and keep the construction to using materials and parts that I had lying around the house as far as possible.

In the end, the parts list consisted of the following:

Purchased Parts:
  • 12V gear head DC motor 
  • Arduino Micro controller Board
  • H-Bridge motor control shield for the Arduino board.

Parts Scavenged from Around the House:
  • Timber base board
  • Timber block to mount track column onto.
  • Rubber bath plug (base for stage lighting module)
  • 2x $3 9-LED mini flashlight/torches (to make mini ring light and stage backlighting)
  • 1x unloved Glass screw in UV filter for a camera lens (specimen stage). 
  • PVC pipe (for mini-ring light ring)
  • Electricians's tape
  • Several bolts and screws
  • No-name brand 4-way Macro Rail Slider
  • Disused mounting plate from assembly from tripod head.
  • Plastic cogs salvages from a broken tape-deck
  • Button panel salvaged from a broken sound-system
  • Various electronic components salvaged from broken sound-system
  • Partial modified lens assembly from disused 2x teleconverter (used to concentrate light for specimen stage).

Images of the Rig are shown below:

Full Rig Showing Focusing Mechanism and Specimen Stage

Ready to Shoot
Focusing and Lighting Electronics
Stage Backlight Showing Magnifying lens made from the modified lens assembly of a 2x teleconverter
Mini LED Ring Light
Stage Backlight With Lens Removed

Stage Backlight With Specimen Surface (Glass UV filter)
Stage Backlight With Specimen Surface (Glass UV filter) and Mini Ring Light

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cocktail Revolution - Sweet at first but, bitter aftertaste

The story of my ill-fated association with Cocktail Revolution (

Please note, I am referring to the Australian website/business found at This website is not related in any way to other websites or businesses called Cocktail Revolution in either Australia or world-wide. 


Cocktail Revolution is a website/online magazine/company run by Stacey Pallaras, an Australian currently living in the Solomon Islands.

According to Stacey in an email to me on 23 January 2013:

"Business is Adelaide based, but I am overseas until  at least July 2013, so in the meantime the magazine operates from here (Solomon Islands) and  a team of two in Melbourne. That's in addition to having the various photographers and IT developers on board.   It has been planned as a web only magazine which will eventually go weekly. " 

Strangely perhaps, Cocktail Revolution (henceforth I will refer to them as CR) 
has absolutely nothing to do with cocktails (or revolution in the true sense of the word for that matter). They are a fashion website with a grand plan to provide a stage for young people to showcase their sense of style and fashion (provided they are not wearing black).

Although they allow people to upload their own photos, CR "recruits" enthusiastic photographers to get out and about and capture young and trendy "fashionistas" to feature on their website, with the promise that photographers will be paid for photos that are selected for publishing. Well, that's the theory at least.

My Experience with Cocktail Revolution Begins

On 22 Jan 2013, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Stacey at CR saying:

"Hi Craig,

We are looking for a photographer in Sydney who will be able to supply us with social/fashion pics and streetwear photos.  We liked your write up on your website and noticed that your favourite typeof shoots are the same sort we need.   We take photos of real people  at parties or private functions (where-ever photographers can find them)and what they are wearing, how they are styling themselves. We hope to capture the "stand-outs" at an event,  where possible, (and its not always possible) ... "

As I really enjoy street and candid portraiture, I figured it would be an great opportunity to get out and do more of it. So after a few days consideration and after checking out the CR website, I got back to Stacey to let her know that I was interested. In hindsight, I should have probably paid more attention to a few of the following:

  • The only contact details from CR, are email addresses and message from on their website. There are none of the things one might come to expect of an online business (in Australia at least)
    • No contact phone numbers
    • No physical or postal address
    • No names of the owner/partners/contacts
    • No ABN

The first submission (February 2013)

Before my first submission, I received a few points in an email from Stacey giving guidelines and points to note for my submissions. Bear in mind, that I wasn't sent a more detailed set of guidelines for submission until well after my first submission. The original set of guidelines that I received before the first submission were in summary:
    • "...photographers are free to choose where they go..."
    • "We pay around $400 per issue to each of our photographers who supply us with a minimum of 20 publishable photos. That's $20 per published photo, with little or no post production work and only a single (best/favourite) photo  submitted of each subject." 
    • "We usually accept  all photos submitted, provided they meet our criteria."
    • "We usually accept  all photos submitted, provided they meet our criteria."
    • "Our preferred criteria are: photos of a single person or maximum two people, of YOUNG (around 18-35), ethnically diverse (African, Asian, Causasian(sic) and even indigenous Australians ) who look different, stylish, glamorous, original, quirky and  who stand out for the right reasons. Wrong reasons:  "tits and bums" or "under the influence" type photos."
    • "We hate to publish jeans and tshirts or black clothing."
    • "We pay immediately after publication by EFT into the photographer's nominated accounts."
    • "... we ask our photographers to get the name, job and email address of their subject (consent), (and supply the name of the venue or event), as there are prizes for those voted by our readers as their favourites in terms of style and fashion."
    • "The photos remain the copyright of the photographer..."
    • "...we request 7 days exclusive use on our magazine and social pages, except for "sharing" on facebook after we have posted."
    • "We also request permission to use them in our archives section: 'Lookbook'.
    • "In the magazine, we link the photographer's name to their website..."
Deadline for the first submission was 29 January a mere week from my first approach by CR (although this deadline was eventually extended because of the short notice). With a long stint of miserable weather in Sydney at the time, this meant opportunities to catch young people out on the town at their stylish best were few and far between. Perseverance on a rainy night in the city as well as an equally miserable Saturday at Paddington meant I was able to few brave fashionistas in their wet weather styles. In total I was able to submit 17 shots, of which 16 were accepted.

I was quite satisfied with my attempt given the circumstances, and so it seemed were CR. Their feedback was generally very positive with a few minor tips, which I took on-board.

I when given the number of photos published, I duly invoiced CR and was paid promptly. This submission seemed to have gone off without a hitch, which filled me with enthusiasm, given that I really enjoyed the challenge of finding interesting and stylish subjects on the streets, in bars, coffee shops and out shopping.

While out shooting, I found that I was able to connect easily with subjects and while shooting for CR, I usually offered to shoot a few extra shots of subjects either on their own or with friends for them to use on Facebook, LinkedIn or on any other Social media site (free of charge). Most subjects jumped at this offer and enthusiastically tagged themselves and shared the photos once I had posted them (usually within 24 hours of being shot). Before posting to Facebook however, I selected which shots I would submit to CR, and put these aside. The shots for Facebook were selected from the remaining shots. Some of these remaining shots, I also posted to my website and to my Flickr photostream.

After the February Edition had been published, I enthusiastically shared the photos that I had submitted to CR on my Facebook page. After all, this seemed within the guidelines provided by CR before my submission.

I submitted my invoice for this batch and received payment shortly afterwards.

The Second Submission (March 2013)

After the success of my first submission I figured that it might be useful to hand people a business card with the details of Cocktail Revolution and myself as well as a "blurb" which CR had provided, to make it easier to get the message across to potential subjects that I approached. As a result, I paid to get high quality business card printed for this purpose. After all I figured  that if things continued to go as smoothly as the first submission, then I would need them.

I bought a license for the full version of "Photographers contract maker" for my iPad, which when customised allowed me to easily capture peoples' names, email addresses, occupations, the venue, a reference headshot and their signed permission to use their photo on CR. Using the app it meant I could automatically email them a PDF copy of their permission form as soon as they had signed (on screen). This generally gave a highly favourable reaction from the subject.

For the second batch of photos, my awesome girlfriend Nat offered to accompany me on all shoot and take responsibility for liaising with subjects to capture their details and reference shots (as well as being a fashionista spotter) while I concentrated on getting the shots. We found this arrangement worked really well and allowed us to us to finish with each subject more quickly in cases where there were more than one in an area.

For this submission, I managed to get a total of 21 images, which I submitted on 21 February, well in time for the 25 February deadline.

Beginning of The Fallout

On 1 March, I received a brief email from Stacey explaining that they were having problems getting the URL to my website working but that they would continue trying. To this I replied,  "Thanks for letting me know. That's not a problem. Don't worry about the link if it will delay publishing.". Shortly afterwards, I received the email announcement that the March edition of CR was live.

When I finally got around to having a look at the edition, I noted that the URL issue had been fixed. Because there were only 9 of my 21 images up. At first I figured that perhaps they CR was still in the process of publishing the March edition. The following day, I sent the following polite query:

Hi Stacey

I noticed that as yet, you only published a small number of my
images. I just wanted to check whether this was intentional and if so, what
was the reason that the rest were not publish, given that in the past you
have said that you usually accept all photos.
Thanks and Regards


Stacey responded to this email promptly, and although not providing specific answers as to why images were not published (she did note, "I still
haven't seen the current edition, I'm afraid and don't know what pics ended up in or out"), did provide me with a rough idea as to why the images had not been publish, which I was willing to take on board as a learning experience. 

There were however a few points about the email which were a little perplexing, namely:

  • "I don't recall at the moment if I have already written this to you, but we dont want street wear pics..."

    - Well, actually she had in fact said to me in her very first email:

    "We are looking for a photographer in Sydney who will be able to supply us with social/fashion pics and streetwear photos..."

  • Lo and behold, Stacey had attached two documents called "Notes for photographers.docx" and another called "So what are we looking for...docx"

    The "Notes" document was thus far, the only thing remotely resembling an official submission policy that I had been given since CR first approached me. The date of receiving this document was however 2 March 2013. Not before my first submission. Not even before my second submission, but after the second edition using my images had already been published!

    In addition what one might have hoped was an official policy was nothing more than a scarcely formatted, unlocked (and therefore editable), Microsoft Word document (not a PDF) containing a few numbered points.

    It had an unformatted heading reading "Photographers" and an unformatted "sub-heading" below reading "Cocktail Revolution:".

    The document metadata contained nothing more than the name "Stacey" under the author's name. There were no further identifying marks besides the dot points. There was no letterhead, watermark, logo or footer which might have lent credence to the fact that this might be an important document from "Cocktail Revolution". There was no email address, company address, ABN, phone number, website, director's name or anything else which one might expect on an important document from a registered company doing business. In effect, it seemed scarcely more significant than a few points scribbled down on the back of a used envelope. However, this document (previously unseen by me) was to very quickly become the rules which I had (somewhere along the line) broken.
  • Perhaps the most perplexing part of Stacey's email was the following line near the end:

    "Please also note points 1 & 7 in the Notes for
    Photographers, as we noticed your pics were pre-published on flicker (sic)."

    Now, as I mentioned earlier, after deciding which image I would be submitting to CR, I put that image aside and posted others from the same series to one or more of my online albums, including, Flickr, my website and Facebook.  Sometimes, these images might be similar but they could be slightly different in any number of ways, including, but not limited to,  slightly different pose, facial expression, angle, lighting, colour treatment, depth of field or framing.

    Barring a major malfunction in my processing & publishing workflow, this means that the likelihood of my accidentally publishing the CR image on Flickr is extremely slim.

    Bear in mind also, that Stacey's comment is referring to at least one, but possibly both of the submissions that I had made so far, both of which predated me receiving any rules or policies other that those one of Stacey's early emails to me (outlined above). The relevant line was:

    ...we request 7 days exclusive use on our magazine and social pages, except for "sharing" on facebook after we have posted."

    My interpretation is that they request exclusive use of the images that they have posted. Nowhere does it say anything in the email about similar images (although this is mentioned in the "Notes for photographers" sent to me after the publish date of the second edition).

Applying policies retrospectively!?

Shortly after receiving the email discussed above, I responded to Stacey to enquire whether my images had been rejected because of being perceived as already published:

This email is reproduced below in full (Dated 2 March 2013):

Hi Stacey

Thanks for getting back to me with a detailed reply.

With regards to photo being pre-published, I don't believe this is the
case, as I am very careful not to publish photos that I will be submitting
to CR before they are published on the Cocktail Revolution site. I do
publish similar images, but not the exact same ones (I usually shoot 10-20 shots of
each subject). My workflow is structured so that I select and process the
CR images first and then exclude them from being published anywhere else by
physically moving them to a CR staging area that is separate from my
pending queue.

To provide a bit of background, the reason I publish some of
the images before hand (and preferably within 24 hours of the shoot) is
because I send the links to the subjects as thanks for them posing for me.
When I'm shooting I usually ask them if they'd like me to do a few photos
(free of charge obviously) for them to use on Facebook, linkedIn etc. and
let them pose with their friends. I find this always has a positive
response and helps to build up a rapport with the subject. In posting them
and sending the link within 24 hours, I hope to re-assure them that I'm not
just some weirdo with a camera who took some photos of them and
disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again (some of my friends and
family might dispute the weirdo part though ;-) ).

If some of the images were excluded as they had definitely been
re-published, could you please let me know which ones, as I will need to
have a look into what caused this, although I am fairly confident they are
not the same as photos published on Flickr, my website or Facebook, merely

Thanks again

P.S. I was hoping to shoot Mardi Gras tonight (though not for
CR) as this is one of my favourite people shooting opportunities of the
year (I just shoot the vibrantly dressed spectators), but alas the shocking
Sydney weather has stepped in yet again.

To say that the following response to my email took me by surprise is a gross understatement. This was Stacey's response, Dated 5 March, 2013:

Hi Craig,

I am sure the photos were not excluded because of

We say clearly in our notes for photographers that
although we may publish photos that have been published already, we don't
pay for them.  We have also stated clearly that photos of people wearing the
same outfits that are published count as the same thing.  It works against
us building a readership and audience interest, it works against people
going to the site to vote and it works against us as building a profile for
unique photo-fashions.  It would be easier and cheaper for us simply to take
photos off people's facebook pages. Why would we pay for photos for people
to post of their facebook pages that don't have any connection to Cocktail
Revolution? Quite simply we wouldn't.

On this note it would appear that you
were paid for photos for February that had also been pre-published.  The
only reason you were paid, was that we were not aware of their
pre-publication.  For this reason yo should not have been paid for those

We thought we were building a good  working relationship with you.
We certainly all liked your work. Our understanding is that we had an
agreement for you to provide photos and info based on the notes for
photographers and statement of what we are looking for.  Based on those
terms, you would be paid promptly after invoicing us. Please correct me if I am wrong here.


I am now being held accountable to a policy that I had been sent no more than 3 days earlier, for my submissions, all of which were made prior to the submission deadline of 25 February and which had been published before I received the "Notes for photographers". How is that in any way reasonable?

Since receiving Stacey's email I have checked my emails multiple time to see whether I had perhaps overlooked receiving the "Notes for photographers" at an earlier day. Being someone who keeps all my photography related emails, both sent and received, indefinitely, I can quite confidently say that 2 March 2013 was the very first time I received the said document.

Just for reference purposes, I have included the Cocktail Revolution "Notes for Photographers" verbatim below:
"Notes for photographers.docx" contents.

Cocktail Revolution:
  1. Will pay $20 for previously unpublished or un-posted photos that we publish.
  2. Will acknowledge the photographer of each photo and where possible provide hyperlinks to website or facebook page.
  3. Will publish photos that have previously been posted or published, and acknowledge photographer, but will not pay for use.
  4. Can receive photos through email (limited to 2 meg), private blog or dropbox.  Other means will be considered.
  5. Reserves the right to select photos from those submitted according to our preferred criteria.
  6. Preferred Criteria include:
    • full length/near full length photographs of individual subjects
    • selection of subjects from a diverse ethnicity (eg including, Asians, Caucasians, African & Indigenous Australians )
    • colourful clothing that might be considered, edgy, “out-there”, energetic, vibrant, different, original, unusual, glamorous, stylish
    • interesting photographs, range of backgrounds
    • stylish accessories or hair face and makeup
    • “action” , “live” photographs that capture mood and movement
  1. Criteria for possible non-selection include:
    • Poor quality picture
    • suggestive - sexual poses
    • “tits and bums” style pictures
    • pictures that highlight alcohol products, or subjects appearing to be heavily influenced by alcohol or other substances
    • subjects wearing black clothes, t-shirts, jeans, check-shirts, plain  frocks without accessories
    • posed photo shoots
    • similar photographs (same person/people/same clothes) published/posted on photographers social media sites such as website, facebook page, instagram and twitter.

  2. Cocktail Revolution needs photographers to supply names, occupations, venue/location and email address of subjects and a release/agreement of subject for photographs to be published on-line.
  3. Cocktail Revolution provides an introduction and release for use by photographers
  4. Photographers retain copyright to their photos.
  5. Cocktail Revolution requests exclusive rights to selected photos before publication and for 7 days following publication/posting, with the exception after publication, of sharing of photos from those posted on our social media sites, provided links exist to Cocktail Revolution as the source of the photo.
  6. Photographers permit Cocktail Revolution to use posted/published photos in their on-line archives.
  7. Cocktail Revolution appreciates the support and acknowledgement of photographers through mentions on their websites, facebook pages and exposure through other social media forums.
  8. Photographers need send only their best/favourite photo of each subject; photographs will not be changed in any way by Cocktail Revolution.
  9. Photographers agree to submit photos on the date of deadline and will advise Cocktail Revolution by email as early as possible if they cannot submit photos.
  10. Cocktail Revolution requires photographers to invoice them after publication.

After receiving Stacey's email and thinking long and hard about the potential returns versus the amount of work required to get 20 acceptable images, I made the unfortunate decision that it wasn't worthy use of my time. As a result, I decided to stop contributing to CR. My email to Stacey/CR was as follows (Dated 7 March, 2013):

Hi Stacey

I've had some time to re-read through the notes for photographers as well as our previous communications regarding the submission requirements, and in particular, what subjects and variety are are required for publishing.

You have said that you appreciate the fact that I speak my mind, so I have summarised my thoughts as follows:

  • Although I love photographing (and interacting) with people in a social environment, the target subjects for CR (18-25) are not commonly found in the locations I tend to visit. Although I do enjoy socialising and having the occasional night on the town, at the age of 40, I am no longer a clubber or someone that goes out every weekend (having been burnt-out a bit in the early 90's when I was a club DJ and used to go out 5-7 nights a week). When I do, it tends to be to places where the average age is in the 25-45 bracket, where people dress casually (but not necessarity uniquely) and just go to have a drink with friends. When I attend parties, the same is true.
  • In order for me to get more subjects in the target age range, it means that I need to make a concerted effort to visit venues that cater for this range. Although in these venues, it is not that difficult (in fact quite easy) to find willing subjects there are generally a high percentage of the "tits & bums" set and people who have had too much to drink. As a result, finding subjects that fit the criterion can be quite time consuming.
  • As you have said, CR wants subjects that stand out in a crowd and who have taken time dress stylishley and uniquely. Unfortunately the quest for unique subjects means that suitable subjects (especially those that satisfy the other criteria) are few and far between, and again finding them is time consuming.
  • As far as capturing images having movement, energy and spontaneity, it usually requires surreptitious shooting at first, unless the subject is an experienced model. Unfortunately I am not comfortable photographing people without their knowledge before asking for their permission even if I am fairly confident they won't mind when I ask them.
  • I have estimated based on my experience so far shooting for CR, it takes at least 30minutes to an hour per image that I have submitted so far (including travel, sorting, selecting and processing). Unfortunately that means that even if every one of the images is published, after taking into account things like parking (which I would estimate cost $10-20 per outing in Sydney) the income works out to around $20/h.
  • Because I work a full week, the only time I really have to shoot is on the weekends. If the weather is bad as it has been recently, there is even less time to shoot. I have a feeling that as winter approaches it may be even more difficult to find suitable opportunities when limited to the weekends only.
  • I feel that a suitable candidate for a job such as this would be a uni student (needing some cash on the side), who has plenty of spare time, who socialises a lot, who is a good photographer, and who can shoot on campus where they may be more likely to find subjects in the right demographic.
  • Although given a diverse selection of subjects meeting the selection criterion, I have no doubts I could produce the images, unfortunaly I can't justify the time and expense that it takes to find the subjects.
For the above reasons, I feel that I can not continue to be a regular contributor to Cocktail revolution. I am happy to contribute the occasional image if and when I feel I have shot something publishable, but don't feel I can continue to devote the time to submit 20 images each month. If CR's target subject requirements were to change in the future or, if for example you do end up staring a 30-40-something fashionista edition, I would be happy to reconsider my involvement as a photographer for CR.

I trust you will understand my reasoning

Sorry, but Best Regards

Stacey's response was polite, complimentary (for which I am grateful) and seemed understanding (
as shown below, Dated 7 March 2013) with the result that I felt we were on good terms

Hi Craig,

Thanks for your email.

I can see you have given it quite a lot of thought. And I'm very sorry it takes up so much of your time. If by chance you get the odd brilliant one you want to send us in the future , please do feel free to do so at any time. We'd always be glad to receive them.

You are still one of my favourites, and will recommend you to Sydney-side colleagues if the opportunity arises.


On 12 March after having a busy few days, I finally got around to submitting my outstanding invoice for the 9 images published from my second submission. Admittedly, at $180 it is not really a large sum of money, but it is money that I am owed for something that I put a lot of energy and passion into, as I do with all of my photography. I emailed the invoice to both Stacey's email address and that of CR.

By 18 March, I had received no response, so I sent the following email:
Hi Stacey/Cocktail Revolution staff

I just wanted to check whether you have received my invoice last Tuesday. At the time I was having a few email problems so it might have failed to reach you.
I have re-attached the invoice and would appreciate your attention to this at your soonest convenience.

Many Thanks
Craig Jewell

I understand that plenty of people might not get a chance to check and respond to emails every day, but I expect more of a business feel that at a bare minimum, one working week is not unreasonable to expect a response, even if just saying "Thanks for your invoice. We will process it shortly."

On 19 March, to be doubly sure, I sent a query to the CR facebook page asking them to contact me regarding my invoice. I noticed in the days following that they made several posts to their timeline, indicating that there was in fact someone on the "other end of the line".

By the 21st of march, having still received no response by either email or Facebook message, I sent the following letter to both Stacey and the CR email address.

An Ultimatum or Two for

Subject: March Invoice (please read this email carefully)

To Stacey and the staff of Cocktail Revolution (ABN 74 689 458 852)

I ask that you please read this email carefully and fully (especially, but not exclusively sections 5 and 6). Unless I receive a reply indicating to the contrary, I will assume that you have read and understand its content and it implications fully.

On 12 March 2013, I submitted an invoice for a relatively small sum (see "Putting Things into Perspective", below) of $180 for 9 photos, to your email address (Stacey Pallaras) and the Cocktail Revolution photo submission email address (, through which we have communicated in the past). As of this evening, I have now allowed 9 days for you to respond, but have been disappointed to not even receive so much as an acknowledgement of receipt of my invoice, even after sending a further email on 18 March and a Facebook message on 19 March to query if the invoice had been received. If I were able to find a contact phone number for Cocktail revolution, I would have called as well, but unfortunately you do not list a contact number on any of your sites.

I have noted that since I sent my Facebook message, you have made no fewer than 6 posts to your Facebook timeline. Thus I can only surmise that you are intentionally ignoring my attempts to contact you. I find this conduct extremely un-professional for a supposed business. I was hoping not to have to send this email, but unfortunately I see no other option.

1) How about some some background on myself and my photography

When it comes to photography, I am extremely passionate and enthusiastic about what I do. I love taking photographs of people and I love sharing the results with them (mostly for free) and I am almost always open to requests from friends and family. I do it because I love it. In addition, I consider myself highly reasonable with respect to requesting payment for my images. It is something that up till now I have very rarely done.

Although I have been involved with both the Rights Managed and Royalty Free (Micro-stock) stock photo industry for 9 years, I have also been allowing people to licence my images free-of-charge, for editorial use, charity and small-to-medium sized business for close to 10 years. During this time my images have been licensed for free more than 2 million times through websites like StockXChange, RGBStock, Flickr, my website, Facebook and by direct request. In addition, I have given away tens of thousands of free images (to subjects) taken at/in events, social occasions, artistic performances, markets, parades and businesses as well as on the street. A very large number of these images have been used for free by businesses for websites, brochures, magazines and books (with my permission) and I have lost count of the number of times people have used my images as profile images on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media sites.

However, on the rare occasions that I do engage in work for which payment has been agreed, I do expect to be paid for this work in full.

2) What was Our Deal?

For the use of my images, you have agreed to pay me $20 per image (your normal rate). As part of this agreement, you stipulated that you will only pay for images which have not been published on receiving an invoice from myself. I have already acknowledged to you that for the 9 images in question, I have previously published similar images from the same batch on Flickr and on Facebook. However, I did not publish the exact images for which I am requesting payment and as a result have not breached this requirement.

When I was first contacted by Stacey Pallaras of Cocktail Revolution to contribute to their site, I was sent a document called "Notes for photographers.doc". I shall henceforth refer to this document as "Notes".

In your "Notes", point 1 states
(We) " Will pay $20 for previously unpublished or un-posted photos that we publish."
You have published my 9 of my previously un-posted photos, and as a result, I feel that it is within the terms of "Notes" that I be paid $20 per image that was agreed upon.
Point 2 of your "Notes" states:

(We) "Will acknowledge the photographer of each photo and where possible provide hyperlinks to website or Facebook page."

With regards to providing hyperlinks to my website, you informed me the day before publishing:

"We've had a bit of a glitch this time and the link between your name and website page is not loading."

At the time this didn't bother me, as I realised that such things happen occasionally. As a result, I immediately replied:

"Thanks for letting me know. That's not a problem. Don't worry about the link if it will delay publishing."
The "March edition" was published shortly after my email (1 March) and I subsequently noted that the hyperlink was added to my photos on your website. I thank you for this.

I have however been disappointed to note, that as of 19 March, almost 3 weeks after publishing, none of my photos that you have published on either Facebook or Pinterest have links to either my website or my Facebook page. In addition several of the images posted on Facebook do not even credit me by name as promised in your "Notes".

3) What about previously submitted images?

In a previous email to me, you stated that you were disappointed to find out after you had paid me for my February batch of images ( a total of 16 images @ $20/images), that images from this batch had been published by me prior to them being published on Cocktail Revolution. It is true that I had posted some of my Cocktail Revolution (published) images to Facebook after they had been published on your website. However I only posted similar (but not the same) images from the same batch prior to the February Edition of Cocktail Revolution being published. This was due to my (mis)interpretation of what I feel is a vague requirement in your notes, namely:
"sharing of photos from those posted on our social media sites, provided links exist to Cocktail Revolution as the source of the photo."

Well, I had shared the photos with my friends and followers on Facebook, by uploading them to my Facebook page. Is that not sharing? Indeed, it would seem to fit my understanding of sharing. Admittedly, at first I forgot the links to CR on a few, but I have since rectified that. I found that I could not link to the actual images on the Cocktail revolution site as the website (inexplicably) recycles the URLs from month to month. This means that if there were 20 images last month and only 19 this month and someone posted a link to image 20 last month that link will lead to a blank page if someone were to click on it this month. If they were to click on a link to image 19 that was posted last month, they would instead land at this month's image 19. As a result, I linked to those images that I could find on your Facebook page (which was not all of the images). Incidentally, this is how I expected you would link to my website or Facebook page when you posted my images on your Facebook and Pinterest pages, but was disappointed when this did not happen.

Anyhow, any transaction that we have made in the past between us, should bear no relevance to my invoice for this month and issues relating to such transactions should be dealt with as separate issues.

4) Putting things into perspective

If you feel that I am being unreasonable insisting on payment for images which you feel were perhaps not exclusive enough, I would like to try and put things into perspective. As I mentioned earlier, I have been involved in stock photography for several years. As a result, I am well familiar with the pricing structure for licensing of images for both Royalty Free and Rights Managed models having licensed If such pricing were to be applied to the demands that you have in your "Notes for photographers", the pricing would end up something like this.

  • Use of the image falls into the Web Editorial category 
  • Because you are requesting Exclusive use for the image, this puts the pricing into the Rights Managed model.
  • Although you only request exclusive use for 1 week, Rights managed photos are normally licensed for a minimum period of one month.
  • Because you request to keep the image on your website after the initial on month, you would most likely be subject to a further charge for licensing under the Royalty free model.
  • Based on your current number of likes on Facebook (+/- 13000), the distribution size for the purpose of licensing would be in the 10000-50000 category (I would estimate).
  • You require use of the image for your website, Facebook, Pinterest and potentially other Social Media site. With image library like Getty, you would be required to purchase a separate licence for each Social Media site.
  • Industry is Fashion
Using the above criteria to calculate a price, you would be looking at an industry standard licensing price of $500-900 per image for the first month's usage (There are numerous calculators available for calculating image prices based on industry data). In addition the ongoing usage would probably cost you another $200-300 per image. Even if you were to not insist on exclusivity, in which case you could use the Royalty free model from the start, you would be looking at the very least, many times more than the $20 you currently pay per photo. You could admittedly license images for cheaper from any of many micro stock sites, but then they probably wouldn't be what you are looking for. If you take into account that what you are essentially requesting of photographers whom you have approached to shoot for you (such as myself) is essentially commissioned work, almost any half decent photographer's hourly rate as well as travel, parking and other sundry expenses would see you needing to pay a great deal more than the equivalent of $20 per photo.

5) So what am I on about?

This is not about the amount of money per photo. That is not my issue. My issue is that it is proving so difficult to get paid and that I'm being held to ransom by your "Notes for photographers". I have been astounded that this document seems to have become "The Rules". I am not sure if this document has been revised or updated, but the version that I received was an unlocked (and therefore editable) Microsoft Word document (not a PDF) essentially a few scantily formatted numbered points. It had an unformatted heading reading "Photographers" and an unformatted sub-heading or sorts below reading "Cocktail Revolution:". The document metadata contained nothing more than the name "Stacey" under the author's name.There were no further identifying marks besides the dot points. There was no letterhead, watermark, logo or footer which might have lent credence to the fact that this might be an important document from "Cocktail Revolution". There was no email address, company address, ABN, phone number, website, director's name or anything else which one might expect on an important document from a registered company doing business. What marks this document as any more significant than a few points scribbled down on the back of a used envelope?

6) What do I want?
  • I would like is to be paid for the 9 images for which I have invoiced you within the timeframe outlined below.
  • I would like to be properly credited (including hyperlink to my website) on all of my photos that you have published anywhere (including your website and associated websites, Facebook, Pinterest or any other site).
  • If I have not heard back from somebody by 8pm AEDT on Tuesday, 26 March, 2013 (14 days from the submission of my March invoice) I will publish this email as an open letter and your "Notes for photographers" for reference, on my Facebook page, photography blog, website and the numerous Australian photography forums in which I am active, as a warning to other photographers considering submitting to Cocktail Revolution.
  • If I have not received payment or notification of payment by 5pm AEDT, Friday 29 March 2013, then in addition to publishing this email and your "Notes for Photographers" as outlined above, I will insist that you remove (within 24 hours) all of the 9 images for which I have invoiced you, from any part of your website, associated websites, Facebook, Pinterest or any other site to which you have published them.
  • Should you subsequently fail to remove them, I will consider invoicing you at a rate equivalent to that of Getty images for a 1 month rights managed licenses for use on your website, Facebook and Pinterest (3 separate licences per images). If by 8pm AEDT, Monday 1 April, 2013 the images remain on your site, I shall invoice you for an additional royalty-free licence at Getty images' rates. If you process payment for the original invoice within the timeframe outlined above, I shall not invoice you for any further amounts, which I am hoping will be the case.

I trust that you will respond to this email as requested. For you reference, I have attached my invoice again.

Craig Jewell
Craig Jewell Photography

Well, hang on a minute!

If you have read this entire post so far, including the above email ultimata, then you may have noticed that the email spoke from the point of view that I had actually received a copy of the "Notes for photographers" before my submissions. At the time of Stacey's emails regarding the rules, her tone led me to think that perhaps I had received but inadvertently missed them. I have since verified that this was not the case and I was indeed only given this document after my second batch of photos had already been published.

What this means is that Cocktail Revolution have very little grounds to refuse payment for my second submission, and even fewer grounds to feel hard-done-by even if as they feel that photos from my first submission were pre-published, which I am pretty certain they were not.

What was Cocktail Revolution's Response to my Ultimata?

Well, as of 5PM AEDT, Tuesday 26 March 2013, I have received absolutely no response by either email or Facebook message. That's right! Since invoicing them on 12 March, they have not had the common courtesy of professionalism to send even one word of response to my numerous messages.

I have however noted that they have quietly removed all of my photos from their site.

Some Advice - Don't do it!

I know I can't speak for all photographers that have dealt with CR or Stacey Pallaras who runs CR. In fact I haven't spoken to any others. However, all things considered. the final tast left in my mouth having dealt with them, is a bitter one. If you are a photographer who has been approached by CR to shoot for them, or if you are considering approaching them, my advice would be to think twice. The work can be fun and rewarding of you are a people-person, but it can be surprisingly time-consuming for little financial incentive, especially when you are not paid.

But What About the Ultimata?

Because CR have not responded to my emails by 26 March 2013 I have decided to publish this post as I said I would.

Although CR have removed my images, they used them for approximately 3 weeks of the month. Because Rights Managed Licensing usually have a minimum period of 1 month, I feel that I am entitled to payment for one month. The CR removed images from my first batch is irrelevant, as they did so of their own volition. I did not request that they do so. I did however request that they credit me appropriately on those images.

I am still considering how to proceed.

Show me the pics!

I have posted the images that I submitted to CR on my Facebook page. If you would like to see them, visit here.

I have not included details of which ones were published so as not to start a debate on whether each image should or should not have been published.

The Last word (or few)

If there are any photographers that have experiences to share with respect to CR, I'd love to hear from you.

Feel free to share this link with potentially interested parties and feel free to leave comments and suggestions.


I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, spam, counterproductive to open and fair discussion, and which I perceive to be off the subject, trolling or attempting to push an aggenda.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cracking Evening of Retro Party Fun with the Hot Dub Time Machine @ Sydney Town Hall

On Sunday Night, 27 Jan 2013, I was privileged to see DJ Tom Loud and his Hot Dub Time Machine, performing at the Sydney Town Hall as a closing party for the Sydney Festival 2013.

For the duration of the festival, the Town Hall has been transformed into "Paradiso at Town Hall" and has hosted a great diversity of musical events. Although I am sure other events would have been very well supported, Sunday must have surely had the most enthusiastic audience participation as Tom took the them on a 3 hour long multimedia extravaganza of musical milestones.

Having been a "retro" DJ myself in a previous life (though only audio), I can only imagine how long it must've taken Tom to compile his set of music, entertainment and popular culture video clips spanning an incredible 6 decades. The music was well chosen to represent each year and provide a no stop party experience. Tom's mastery of video media is amazing as exemplified by one of my favourite clips, featuring the world's quirkiest penguin, Pingu.

By the end of the night my clothing was drenched with sweat (and I was only capturing the event on camera) as I made my way back to my car, having experienced on of the best compiled party events I have been witness to.

So, now for the pics and video. Although I'm almost exclusively a still photographer, Sunday clearly warranted a fuller multimedia experience, hence the large number of video clips that I shot as well.

See the photos here

See the videos here

The Pied Piper of Paradiso

Wave your hands in the air like you just don't care!

Riot of Colour

A view from the back



Monday, January 14, 2013

Craig's Weekly What is it Photo Challenge: Challenge #26 - 14 January 2013

Today's Craig's Weekly What is it Photo Challenge is here:

Craig's Weekly What is it Photo Challenge: Challenge #26 - 14 January 2013

To play the challenge, click the image to go the the Facebook group and join if you are not a member yet.

Post your guesses as comments on the image. The answer will be revealed at approximately midday GMT on 16 January 2013. Clues may be given along the way.

Good Luck

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Craig's Weekly What is it Photo Challenge


For those that don't know yet (which probably includes most of you), I run a weekly challenge on Facebook, where I post an abstract photograph that I have taken, for people to identify the subject.

It's all for fun, with no prizes, but who knows what may happen in the future if it becomes more popular. I have quite a few ideas up my sleeve.

Challenges start every Monday morning GMT, or evening Sydney time, and run for two days.

Winners will have the supreme honour of seeing their name up in lights at Craig's "What is it?" Hall of Fame

So pop on over to the group page on Facebook and join up at Craig's Weekly "What is it?".

Some of the past challenges were:

Macro Lighting Overkill? Perhaps...

Recently I had the idea to attach 2 Metz 58 AF-2 flashes to the adapter for the MT-24Ex. Although it is probably overkill for the 100mm macro lens, it could work well at greater distances with the 180mm macro lens.

It also works well for long distance portraits with the 135mm f/2 or 200mm f/2.8, on which the larger 72mm adapter ring fits.